Canadian Legal System for Dummies

Canada`s legal system is pluralistic: its foundations are based on the English common law system (inherited from its time as a colony of the British Empire), the French civil law system (inherited from its past from the French Empire)[1][2] and the Indigenous legal systems developed by the various Indigenous peoples. The Constitution Act, 1867 also provided that, while the provinces established their own superior courts, the federal government appointed its judges. [14] It also gives the federal parliament the right to establish a judicial system with jurisdiction over federal law and a general court of appeal to hear appeals against decisions of federal and state courts. [15] The latter power led to the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada by the federal Parliament. [16] The majority of Canadian crimes are enshrined in the Canadian Criminal Code, a huge 300,000-word law that is constantly updated as Parliament creates new crimes. Every year, various advocacy groups publish an up-to-date version of the Criminal Code in book form that lawyers and laymen can easily search for to see what is illegal and what is not. Canada was founded on the territories of origin of more than 900 different Indigenous groups, each using different Indigenous legal traditions. Cree, Blackfoot, Mi`kmaq and many other First Nations; Inuit; and métis will apply their own legal traditions in everyday life, drafting contracts, working with government and corporate officials, environmental management and criminal proceedings, and family law. Most abide by their laws through traditional governance alongside elected officials and federal laws. [31] The legal precedents created thousands of years ago are known through stories and are derived from the actions and reactions of the past, as well as from the ongoing interpretation by elders and law enforcement – the same process by which almost all legal traditions, customary laws, and civil codes are formed. As the oldest and most active representative democracy in the world, the Iroquois confederated the Six Nations of the Longhouse or the Haudenosaunee in an estimated year of 1142 AD. Chr.[45] The unification of the five original nations (Onödowáʼga:/Seneca, Gayogo̱hó:nǫʼ/Cayuga, Onyota`a:ka/Oneida, Onöñda`gaga`/Onondaga and Kanienʼkehá:ka/Mohawk) and thus the central legal framework, is told orally from the constitutional wampum and is symbolized by the tree of peace, the eastern white pine.

[46] Federal and state laws that concern private affairs rather than public interests are called civil law (not to be confused with the civil law system, see above). Unlike criminal laws designed to protect all Canadians from general danger, civil laws govern relationships between individuals or businesses. Civil laws typically regulate things like employment contracts, construction contracts, marriages, divorces, wills, and custody arrangements, and attempt to protect individuals from abuse or exploitation. When a Canadian sues another — which he often does, usually for committing tort or negligent negligence — he is dealing with civil law. The Constitution divides responsibility for different types of civil law between the federal and provincial governments. The harshest penalty a Canadian can face for breaking a law is prison. Like the rest of the justice system, Canada`s prisons are jointly managed by the federal and provincial governments. If you are sentenced to less than two years in prison and you go to a provincially run prison.

More than two, and it`s federal. In Canada, judicial sentences tend to be increasingly staggered, with first-time offenders receiving lighter sentences. Going to prison is usually reserved for those who relapse repeatedly. Only the most serious crimes, such as murder, are punishable by long mandatory prison sentences, with life imprisonment being the longest sentence a Canadian can receive. Prison stays may be terminated earlier as a reward for personal reform and good prison behaviour, as determined by the local section of the Parole Board of Canada. Technically, even people sentenced to life can appeal probation, although this is almost always denied. There has been no death penalty in Canada since 1976. Although the many legal traditions seem similar in that none have been codified, each has very different pieces of legislation. Many laws come from stories, which in turn may come from Scriptures or marks, such as geographical features,[32] petroglyphs, pictograms, Wiigwaasabakoon, etc. The government of the Nunangat Inuit[33] differed considerably from that of its many neighbour Denendeh, as the various Dene laws of Denendeh[34] differed considerably from the laws governing Lingít Aaní[35],[36] Gitx̱san Lax̱yip[37] or Wet`suwet`en Yin`tah; [38] and, as these differ from Haudenosaunee[39], Eeyou-Istchee or Mi`kma`ki`s.

One thing most indigenous legal and governmental traditions have in common is the use of clans like the Doodeman of Anishinaabek (although most are matrilineal like Gitx̱sans Wilps). [40] The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Supreme Court of Canada) is the highest court in Canada and the last court of appeal in the Canadian judicial system.

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