Unit One-Our Legal Heritage 6156KB Sep 06 2013 03:18:48 PM

Our Legal Heritage
Studying Law
What is the punishment for murder?
• No “blanket” punishment- depends on several factors
Studying law will require you to look at 2 sides of an
issue even if you only want to look or listen to one. You
need to have an open mind. Try not to rely on your
morals, simply focus on what the law has to say about
the problem.
- What actually happened?
- Who are the key participants in the case?
- What laws are involved?
- What is the argument?
What law(s) can you think of that
might apply to this construction
What law(s) can you think of that
might apply to rollerblading in the
What law(s) can you think of that
might apply to this traffic scene?
fairness; judgment by legal process
a lack of fairness; to judge a person unfairly
Can you think of an example of an injustice?
True or False?
“All dogs are animals, but all animals are
not dogs.”
“All laws are rules, but all rules are not
* Students are to read “Rules versus Laws” on the bottom of page
10 and the bottom of page 11 “What is Law?”
Which are RULES and which are
No Smoking on school property.
- Was a rule, now a law!
Getting your homework in on time.
- Rule
Wearing your seatbelt in the car.
- Law: it can be enforced
Not being permitted to purchase cigarettes under the age of 19.
Not wearing hats in class.
- Rule
6. No hunting deer without a license.
- Law; you can be fined for doing otherwise
7. Putting your garbage in the container at the bus stop.
-Law (littering)
8. No fortune telling for money.
-Law: municipal
9. Turning off your cell phone at the movies.
- Rule
10. No swearing at your teachers
-Generally a rule, BUT if public profanity is prohibited within the
community, the courts will enforce this law. However, if any
comments defame the character of the teacher, the teacher can sue
for slander.
Sixteen-year-old Canadians cannot vote, but
they must obey the laws of the country,
even if they may not agree with them.
Turn to page 12 in your text. Look at the photo. Record
any laws which apply to this traffic scene.
No stopping in the left lane
No parking in the right lane
No stopping between 7am and 9am on weekdays
No stopping within 9 meters of the crosswalk
No driving into a one way street
Cyclists must obey traffic laws
The Need for Law
Laws allow us to live in a peaceful and
safe society. Laws protect us from
violence. The courts provide a place for
disputes to be settled with structure and
safety; not in the streets. Some societies
enforce law through intimidation and
citizens can be imprisoned without a trial.
Write a response to the following question
(minimum ½ page)
• What is the meaning and function of law in
Canadian society?
• Why do all societies need laws?
Location of Singapore
Some interesting facts about
• Singapore consists only of one main island and
63 other tiny islands. Most of these islands are
• Singapore is among the 20 smallest countries in
the world, with a total land area of only 682.7
square kilometers. The USA is about 15,000
times bigger.
• Apart from Monaco, Singapore is the most
densely populated country in the world, with
6,430 people per square kilometer.
Learning about Singapore
• Silently read the text on “Laws in
Southeast Asia”.
• Record 5 or more “pieces of thinking”!
• Read the story of Michael Fay and
compete assignment.
Some more thoughts
to explore…
• For what reason do you think Michael Fay vandalized property?
• What do you know about cars in Singapore?
They are very expensive! They will cost you about $70,000 CDN
dollars for a tiny subcompact car. A mid-sized car in the US that you
could buy for $12, 700 CDN would cost $100,000 in Singapore.
Vandalizing people’s cars is equivalent to breaking into someone’s
home and damaging it. People in Singapore work years to be able to
buy a car and/or pay it off. Therefore, this type of vandalism shows
an extraordinary lack of respect.
• Was it right for the US to lobby for a lesser sentence for Michael
Michael Fay’s friend from Singapore received the full sentence. Was
this fair?
• Lastly, some people in the US complained that caning was
inhumane treatment, yet the US still practices the death penalty in
several states- is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?
Rule of Law
There are three parts to this principle of justice.
1) Individuals must recognize and accept that laws are
necessary to regulate society.
2) It means that the law applies equally to everyone; no
3) No one in our society has the right to exercise
unrestricted power on their own. It must be done through
the courts and in accordance with the law.
Which scenarios follow the
Rule of Law?
• An off-duty police officer is not charged by
a fellow officer for speeding.
• The premier is charged for assault after
pushing a protester out of the way.
• A local politician gets his or her lawn cut
by the parks and recreation department
Roncarelli v. Duplessis (1959)
(read p.13)
1. Explain which aspect of the Rule of Law
Duplessis violated.
2. If the court had found in favour of
Duplessis, what might the public have
thought of our justice system regarding
the Rule of Law? Might this have had an
impact as to how people conduct
“MacIsaac Discharged for Fiddling with Pot”
(page 16)
What was the charge against Ashley MacIsaac?
Possession of Marijuana (under the Controlled Drugs and Substances
What was Ashley’s punishment?
None. He received an absolute discharge.
What do you think about the judge’s decision? Was justice served?
Connect this to the Rule of Law.
It would only be fair or just treatment if other people possessing
marijuana as Ashley did, received the same treatment. We know that this
was not the case. The judge did not abide by the Rule of Law principle
that everyone should be treated equally for like cases. He also abused his
own power by “letting him off the hook” just because of who Ashley is.
Knowing what is right: Doing
what is wrong?
• Group Activity (groups of 3)
Law and Morality
Not all people will agree on laws. Some laws
conflict with our morals. Regardless of a
person’s opinion of the law, they are to abide by
it or face arrest if they are caught breaking it.
Example: I may have a friend suffering from a
terminal illness and he/she may want me to help
him/her die. Although I understand the struggle
and motives of my friend, assisted suicide is
against the law and if I get caught “helping” my
friend, I may face murder charges.
How our Morals Shape Laws
It is the job of politicians to create and amend (change)
laws. Politicians are to listen to the people they represent
and later voice the concerns of the people when they meet.
Laws created reflect the wants, needs and morals of people
at the time. For example, people write letters, phone their
MLA, hold protests or sign petitions to get the attention of
their local politician so that he/she can present the matter at
a Town Council meeting/Province House/Parliament.
All politicians representing the area discuss the concerns
brought forth. These discussions may result in laws being
created or changed.
A matter of morals…
"Your spouse has become nervous wreck since
she began day trading on the Internet. But she
made $10K in a month. Do you make her stop?”
2. "The teacher asks if you wrote your son's book
report. Your son claimed he did it but the
teacher's right. Do you admit it?”
3. "You've sold your house. Before you move out, the
roof starts to leak. Do you have it fixed?”
4. Your fiance gives you a new video camera as a gift.
When you agree to break off the engagement
you're asked to return the camera. Do you?
A matter of morals…
Write the numbers 1-4 on your paper. Answer each question by writing YES, No, or
1. "Your spouse has become nervous wreck since she began day trading on the Internet.
But she made $10K in a month. Do you make her stop?“
YES: 48%
NO: 17%
2. "The teacher asks if you wrote your son's book report. Your son claimed he did it but
the teacher's right. Do you admit it?"
NO: 67%
YES: 23%
3. "You've sold your house. Before you move out, the roof starts to leak. Do you have it
YES: 34%
NO: 33%
4. Your fiance gives you a new video camera as a gift. When you agree to break off the
engagement you're asked to return the camera. Do you?
NO: 78%
YES: 9%
Case: R. v. Dudley and Stevens (1884)
(Page 15)
What does this tell you about law and the morals and values of the people in
England during this period?
It is obvious that the people of England and their moral values were different from
that of the law. Perhaps if the sailors were treated to imprisonment rather than
killed, society might not have disagreed with the law as much.
What would your verdict in the case be? Why?
Can the actions of the sailors be justified? Explain.
Actions justified because…
-no other alternative existed
- to abide by the law was impossible because all three sailors would have died.
They were saving their own lives.
Actions not justified because…
-intentionally killing another person is a crime- the law must be applied equally to
all people
- we do not have proof that there were no other alternatives available to sustain
their lives
Would you prefer to be treated
Discussion Questions to Ponder…
• Would it be fair to treat all students the
same regardless of their learning abilities?
What might happen if we did?
• Is it fair to treat physically able people the
same as those with physical disabilities all
the time? How could this idea put some
people at a disadvantage?
Law and Justice
Most Canadians believe that justice
means equality. This means that all people
will be treated equally. But there are some
cases where circumstances must be taken
into consideration so that a person is
treated justly or fairly.
To be treated fairly, one must:
a) Carefully evaluate the circumstances of
the problem and the person who is
accused of wrong doing.
b) Not discriminate against another person
on the basis of irrelevant characteristics
regarding skin colour, religion,etc.
c) Apply the law regardless of position of
financial status.
Fair does not mean equal.
Agree or disagree?
Provide an example to support
your thinking.
History of Law
Law and Civilizations
• Laws in the form of community enforced
rules have existed since people began to
• Most were based on common sense and
passed on by word of mouth.
• As populations grew and laws became more
complex, the need to record laws in writing
For your information…
• "Before common era." This abbreviation has come to replace
the previously used B.C. ("before Christ"), and covers the
period of history prior to the birth of Christ.
• C.E.: "Common era." This abbreviation came to replace the
previously used A.D. (anno Domini, Latin for "in the year
of the Lord") because of new knowledge regarding the date
of the Christ's birth. The common era covers the time from
Christ's birth to the present day.
Code of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE)
• One of the earliest known sets of recorded
laws, written by King Hammurabi of
• He codified, or recorded, the rules and
penalties of every aspect of Babylonian life.
Code of Hammurabi
• Laws reflected a patriarchal, male-dominated
• Higher members of society would be
punished, however women or slaves actually
receive retribution
• No distinction was made between an
accident and a deliberate action.
Code of Hammurabi
• Many of the laws were based on
RETRIBUTION- an eye for an eye type of
• Other laws focused on restitution, meaning a
compensation payment would be made to the
An Eye for an Eye
Many of the ancient laws were based on an “eye for an eye” philosophy to
ensure that justice was done and that no vengeance was exacted by the
parties who had been wronged. Which of the following laws reflect this
If a man knocks out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out.
If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly,
and the house which he built falls and kills it owner, that that builder shall be
put to death.
If anyone hires oxen, and kills them by bad treatment or blows, he shall
compensate the owner, oxen for oxen.
If anyone is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to
Mosaic Law (1250 BCE)
• One of the greatest influences of modern law
in Canada in biblical law
• Also known as Hebrew Law or Mosaic law,
these laws are often referred to as the Ten
• Recorded in the Book of Exodus
Mosaic Law (1250 BCE)
• Basic principles are similar to the Code of
Hammurabi yet the laws had evolved
• Law was more concerned with punishing
deliberate actions instead of accidental acts
of harm
• Punishment focused on the offender and not
someone of lesser status
Do you know the Ten
• Video The Ten Commandments Challenge
• The Ten Commandments Law Connection
Greek Law (400 BCE)
• First form of democracy was born in Greece
• Greek law promoted citizen involvement in
running the country
• Voting and Jury Duty were both major
responsibilities for citizens
• Sentencing was also democratic
Roman Law (450 – 100 BCE)
There were two basic principles to Roman
1) The Law must be recorded
2) Justice could not be left in the hands of
judges alone to interpret
• Roman laws were codified and could be
revised when necessary
• The Twelve Tablets dictated the law of
England and is considered the foundation of
modern law
• The practice of having a legal advisor who
specializes in law first occurred
The Twelve Tablets Promoted:
• Public Prosecution of Crimes
• A system of victim compensation
• Protected the lower classes from the ruling
Women, however, were not mentioned as
they were not considered persons!
Justinian’s Code (527- 565 CE)
• Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
commissioned the clarification and
organization of Roman Law
• A new body was completed in addition. This
was called Justinian’s Code.
• It formed the basis for civil law.
• The word “justice” comes from his name.
Napoleonic Code (1804)
• The Napoleonic Code’s non-technical style
made laws accessible to the public
• Also known as the French Civil Law
• Regulated Civil matters such as property,
wills, contracts, and family law.
Key Vocabulary
Codified: Laws which are arranged and
recorded systematically
Retribution: Justice based on vengeance and
Restitution: Payment made by the offender
to the victim of a crime.
Historical Roots of Law
Laws have existed for many years. Laws have changed as society has changed. Some laws have
become more complex and some have even been eliminated. By reading about the past, you will
discover the impact the past has had on Canada’s present legal system.
Read pages 17-23 and answer the following questions.
1. What were the Great Laws of Manu?
2. Identify one of the earliest-known written legal codes.
3. The text states the many of Hammurabi’s laws were based on retribution. What does this
4. What does the term restitution mean? Give an example to support your definition.
5. Name the set of laws found in the book of Exodus in the Bible.
6. Which society had the first paid legal advisors?
7. How did the Justinian and Napoleonic Codes contribute to the development of modern law?
In medieval Europe and England, people
were very religious. Everyone assumed that
God would protect people from harm. So,
when a legal case was hard to decide, the
judge would sometimes order a new trial to
be "decided" by God.
Way Back When…
Trial by ordeal:
This “trial” required a person to undergo torture
to determine guilt or innocence.
Example:Trial by fire (hot iron)
Trial by water
(If the accused sank, the verdict was innocent, but the accused often
drowned before being rescued. An accused person who floated on the
water was pronounced guilty because water was considered a symbol of
purity that had rejected the accused.)
Trial by Oath Helping:
(often used for less serious offences) This
required friends of the accused to swear
on the Bible indicating that he or she was
innocent. If the friend(s) agreed to do it,
then the accused was freed. Sound easy?
No! People feared that God would punish
them if they lied under oath, so they
wouldn’t chance telling a lie!
Trial by Combat:
determining guilt or innocence by having
the parties fight a duel. It was thought that
God would be on the side of the innocent
party and that the innocent man would
In Canada, extending or accepting a
challenge to fight a duel is a criminal
offence that carries a penalty of
imprisonment for up to two (2) years.
Purging by Water
(Trial by Ordeal: Page 25)
“Unfortunately many innocent people ended up
either confessing or dying because of the
- Explain.
Important Term
Habeas Corpus:
a court order designed to prevent unlawful arrest
by ensuring that anyone detained by police is
charged within a reasonable amount of time.
Consider This!
Adil breaks into a neighbor’s home and steals some goblets and jewellery.
Adil blames a friend for the crime. The friend has now been charged with a
crime for which he may be put to death.
If Adil is caught telling lies about his friend, what, according to Babylonian
law, will happen to him? Would this behaviour be an offence in Mosiac Law?
According to Babylonian law, since the punishment for theft from a neighbor
was death, then the punishment for false accusation of theft was also death.
According to Mosiac Law, giving false testimony was forbidden, so Adil’s
behaviour would be considered an offence in Mosaic Law.
The judge who hears the case against Adil’s friend finds him guilty. Later he
changes his mind about his verdict. What would happen to this judge
according to the Code of Hummurabi? Would the judge be punished in Mosiac
The judge would probably be publicly removed from the judge’s bench for
life. Under Mosiac Law, an accidental act of harm (mistake in judgment) was
not as great as a concern as punishing a deliberate action. Therefore, the judge
would not likely be punished for a mistake in judgment.
A Dash for Loose Cash:
A Question of Ethics!
Group #1: A crime is defined as: An act which harms the public welfare and is made
unlawful by a government. Was picking up the money a crime? Why in this situation,
was the temptation so great, to take the money and run?
Group #2: Why did the papers report the average household income in their reports
of the story? Why? Also, Are there people who steal whether they are rich or poor?
Group#3: When the news of the Guardian Armoured Truck happening hit the
newspapers, a journalist, Susan Ager, wrote about a similar situation which occurred
to her and her husband in 1985 while traveling in Peru. Her husband’s money ($25)
was scattered all over the street when his pockets were torn by some thieves. That
amount of money, in such an impoverished country, could have fed an entire family
for a month. But, to Ager’s amazement, the people scrambled to pick up every cent
and return it to her husband. She asked this question: “Why were these people so
Group #4: Was it wrong for those people to take the money? Discuss it with your
group and see if you can’t all agree on an answer to give to the class. This case is an
example of WHITE COLLAR crime. Can you guess what white collar crime means?
Give another example.
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