Browse "Courts"

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Administrative Tribunals in Canada

Administrative tribunals in Canada make decisions on behalf of federal and provincial governments when it is impractical or inappropriate for the government to do so itself. Tribunals are set up by federal or provincial legislation, known as “empowering legislation.” Tribunals are commonly known as commissions or boards, and make decisions about a wide variety of issues, including disputes between people or between people and the government. Tribunals may also perform regulatory or licensing functions. Tribunal decisions may be reviewed by the courts. Because they engage in fact-finding and have the power to impact personal rights, tribunals are often seen as “quasi-judicial.”

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Cameras in the Court

Canadian courts are open to any member of the public if there is the space, if the court is near enough to them and if they can find the time to attend. For years Canadian media have argued for television camera access to court proceedings.

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Court System of Canada

The court system of Canada forms the judicial branch of the federal, provincial and territorial governments and is independent of the legislative and executive branches of government. The Constitution Act, 1867 provides for the establishment and operation of Canada’s judiciary, including its courts of law. It gives the federal government exclusive lawmaking power over criminal law and criminal procedure, but not over the establishment of criminal courts. It gives the provinces exclusive lawmaking power over the administration of justice in each province. Canada has four levels of court: the Supreme Court of Canada; the Federal Court of Appeal, and provincial and territorial courts of appeal; provincial and territorial superior courts; and, provincial and territorial (lower) courts. Each type of law court has the authority to decide specific types of cases.

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Defence Counsel

Defence counsel, lawyer who advises accused (defendants in civil cases) and presents their case to the court, ensuring that clients have a fair trial. If a client is convicted, the defence counsel speaks in respect of sentence.

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Family Court

Family Court, the common name of courts established by provincial statutes to administer FAMILY LAW. Judges are appointed by the provincial government.

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Judges' Salaries (Reference)

The main question in dispute in the reference on judges' salaries (1997) concerned the financial security of judges of provincial courts. In this case the governments of Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Alberta had reduced the salaries of their provincial court judges without prior consultation.

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Juvenile Justice Systems

On 7 July 1982, Parliament enacted the Young Offenders Act (effective April 1984, some sections not until 1985), which the government claimed would bring about a long-overdue reform of Canada's juvenile justice system.

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Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court, the common name of courts established by provincial legislation for civil matters involving small sums of money. In Québec, the upper limit of the small claims court is $7 000, but in the other provinces it is $1000, $2000 or $3000.

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Sovereign Council

The council initially comprised the governor, the bishop, the INTENDANT and 5 councillors. In 1703 membership grew to 12, to which 4 associated judges were added in 1742. Members, usually recruited from the French gentry, were nominated initially by the governor and the bishop and later by the king.

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Stare Decisis

Stare decisis [Latin, "let the decision stand"] refers to the doctrine of precedent, according to which the rules formulated by judges in earlier decisions are to be similarly applied in later cases.