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Chapter 2

ADMS 2610 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Mens Rea

Administrative Studies
Course Code
ADMS 2610
Robert Levine

of 7
Session 1
Chapter 2 (pg. 29-40, 43-46)
Structure of the Judicial System
Judicial System
- In Canada, there are many different courts with different jurisdiction
- Jurisdiction means the right or authority to hear and decide a dispute
- The court must have authority to deal with the case brought before it and over the
parties or the property or the matter
- Authority is divided in different ways:
o(1) Monetary – court has been authorized to hear cases concerning money
up to a certain amount
o(2) Geographic – court has cases concerning land within the particular
province or area where the land is situated
o(3) Subject Matter (jurisdiction over the parties to a dispute) – court must
have the authority or power to compel the parties attendance or to impose
its decision on them
- Courts of Law
oCourts of Original Jurisdiction (Trial Courts)
A dispute or case is heard for the first time by a judge, where all
the facts are presented so the judge can render a decision
Criminal and Civil cases are first heard
oCourts of Appeal
Hear appeals from the decisions of courts of original jurisdiction
Superior or “higher” courts in that their decisions may overrule or
vary the decisions of the “lower” or trial courts
Principal foundation is to review the decisions of trial courts if one
of the parties to the action in the lower court believes that the trial
judge made an erroneous decision
Do not normally hear evidence but hear arguments by counsel for
the parties
Sometimes appeal is limited to the amount of damages awarded
In criminal cases, severity of the penalty imposed
Appeal court may find the judge at trial failed to consider
important evidence when reaching their decision and send the case
back to the lower court for a new trial
Looks for errors of law
Types of Courts
-Federal Courts
oFederal Court Trial Division hears disputes between provincial
governments and the federal government or actions against the federal
oDeals with federal matters under federal government jurisdiction
Includes admiralty, patents, tax, trademark, immigration, copyright
oA trial decision of the Federal Court may be appealed to the Federal
Court of Appeal and the appeal with leave to the Supreme Court of
-Provincial Courts
oEach province has authority to establish their own system and assign each
court a specific jurisdiction
oThere are different variation in names and powers do exist but overall they
are similar in function
-Criminal Courts
o(1) Magistrate’s or Provincial Court
Court of original jurisdiction
Initially deals with all criminal matters
Holds preliminary hearings of more serious crimes to determine if
sufficient evidence exits to send it to a higher court
All provinces have one except for Quebec which is known as the
Court of Sessions of the Peace
o(2) Provincial Supreme Court
Hears more serious criminal matters
Ontario calls this court the Superior Court of Justice
Justices of the court periodically travel throughout the province to
hear these cases at sessions of the court called Assizes (sittings of
the court held in different places throughout the province)
White gloves may be presented to the judge at the beginning of the
session if no criminal cases are scheduled to be heard
o(3) Youth Courts
Hears cases of youth who commit crimes
12 years or older to under 18 years old
Cases in this court, names of young persons and the offences
committed cannot be published by the press or other media
Presided by judges who have the powers of a justice or magistrate
of a summary conviction court
o(4) Family Courts
Have jurisdiction to deal with domestic problems and the
enforcement of federal and provincial legislation that relates to
family problems
Deal with non support of family members or family relationships
that have deteriorated where the actions of one family member
have become a serious threat to others
Presided over by a magistrate or provincial court judge
May also fall under jurisdiction of the Superior or Supreme Court
of the province
o(5) Criminal Courts of Appeal
Hear appeals from lower courts
o(6) Civil Courts
Deals with disputes between private persons
o(7) Small Claims Court
Hear disputes up to a certain amount of money
Amount varies by each province
o(8) Provincial Supreme Court
Hears civil disputes over and above small claims matters or those
matters specifically set in the superior court
o(9) Surrogate or Probate Court
Deals with administration of wills and estates
Courts of Appeal
-Civil Courts of Appeal
oProvincial Court of Appeal
Hears appeals in each province from lower courts
-Supreme Court of Canada
oHighest court in Canada
oHears all appeals from all courts including federal court
oRight to appeal is restricted, leave (permission) by the court must be
Criminal Court Procedure
- Is concerned with the enforcement of the criminal law
- Usually the same court that deals with civil law matters
oOntario: Provincial Court (Criminal Division)
oOther: Magistrate’s Court
- Minor or lesser offences dealt with by way of summary conviction rules or
- In serious cases, by way of indictment (accusation the person has committed the
- In either cases, it is first heard in the Provincial Court or Magistrates Court
oFor minor cases, courts have absolute or elective jurisdiction to dispose
of the case
oFor serious cases, court will conduct preliminary hearing to determine
whether the crown has sufficient evidence to warrant a full hearing of the
case by a superior court
- Procedure is usually informal
o(1) Offence is read by the crown
o(2) Accused makes a plea (guilty or not guilty)
o(3) If guilty plea, then the court will hear evidence from the Crown to
confirm the act and circumstances surrounding it (conviction will be
lodged against the accused and a penalty imposed)
o(4) If not guilty plea, then the Crown is obliged to present evidence to
show the criminal act was committed (actus reus) and that the accused
had intended to commit (mens rea) the crime