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Chapter 1

SOC209H5 Chapter 1: Chapter 1 – The Foundations of Criminal Justice.docx

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Nicole Goodman

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Chapter 1 – The Foundations of Criminal Justice
The Rule of Law
Rule of law – The requirement that governments, as well as individuals, be
subjected to and abide by the law
Key principles
oThe government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and
private entities are accountable under the law
oThe laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just, are applied evenly, and
protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property
oThe process by which laws are enacted, administered and enforced is
accessible, fair and efficient
oJustice is delivered timely by competent ethical, ad independent
representatives and neutrals who are sufficient number, have adequate
resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve
Canadian charter of rights and freedom – The primary law of the land and
guarantees fundamental freedoms, legal rights, and quality rights for all citizens
of Canada, including those accused of crimes
oProvides protection and ensures legal fairness
The Criminal Law
Types of public law
Criminal law – That body of law that deals with conduct considered so harmful to
society as a whole that it is prohibited by statute and prosecuted and punished by
the government
Principles of Canadian Law
Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea
oActus reus, and mens rea (sometimes) has to be a factor in a crime
Nullum crimen sine lege, nulla poena sine lege
oNo crime without law, no punishment without a law. Rules cannot be
changed in the middle
Ignortia juris non excusat
oIgnorance of the law is no excuse, every person should be familiar with
legal and illegal behaviour
Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare
oNo one is compelled to incriminate himself or herself
Nemo debet bis vexari pro eadem causa
oNo one should be troubled twice for the same cause (double jeopardy)
The System of Criminal Law
PrecedentA judicial decision that may be used as a standard in subsequent
similar cases
Common law – Law that is based on custom, tradition, and practice and is
generally unwritten
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