Law 120
Introductory Lesson
Law is . . .
What do you think the law is?
Why should you study law?
To evaluate the legal information that surrounds you.
To decipher between what is right versus what is wrong.
Understanding the Law
The law does not always provide absolute answers.
Some situations do have absolute answers. For example, if
you are convicted of aggravated assault, the punishment in
Canada is a maximum of 10 years.
Complex legal problems are open to the interpretation of the
law. Complex legal issues can include family law and fraud.
A statute is a law passed by either a provincial Legislature or
Canadian Parliament.
NB Statutes include the Motor Vehicle Act, Education Act, and
the Marriage Act.
Canadian Statutes include the Criminal Code, Youth Criminal
Justice Act, and the Copyright Act.
Understanding statues helps you understand why a person
was charged with a crime or a decision was made in court.
How to Read a Statute
Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 s. 219(1)
R.S. – revised statute
C – Canada. Other statutes will be followed with province’s
c – stands for chapter
s - sections
More examples . . .
Pay Equity Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.7
Agricultural Insurance Act, R.S.N.B. 2010, c.31 s.9
French Languages Service Act, R.S.N.S. 2004, c.26
Cases – the law in action!
Criminal Court:
R. v. Burke (2001), 153 C.C.C. (3d) 97 (Ont. C. A.)
Name: R. v. Burke R stands for the head of state: R for Rex (King)
and Regina (Queen). Names are italicized.
Year: (2001)Always placed after the name in parenthesis,
followed by a comma.
Report Reference: 153 C.C.C. (3d) 97 Cases are often written
up in case law reporters, in this case the Canadian Criminal
Cases. The volume, 153, appears before the reporter
abbreviation. Some reporters have series numbers, 3d, which
follow the abbreviate title in parenthesis. The number following
everything is the page number where the case can be found.
Jurisdiction and Court: (Ont. C.A.) Denotes the jurisdiction and
court where the case was held. In this case, it was held in the
Ontario Court of Appeals.
Cases – continued . . .
Civil Court
Cempel v. Harrison Hot Springs Hotel Ltd. [1998] 6 W.W.R. 233
Names: Cempel and Harrison Hot Springs Hotel Ltd. This is an
issue between 2 parties and does not involve the government.
Year: [1998] they appear in brackets here because it was
referenced in a volume.
Report Reference: 6 W.W.R. 233 Volume 6 of the Western
Weekly Report on page 233.
Jurisdiction and Court: (B.C.C.A.) British Columbia Court of
Try These . . .
R. v. Wells (1998), 127 C. C. C. (3d) 402 (Nfld. C.A.)
Harry v. Kreutziger (1978), 9 B.C.L.R. 166 (B.C.C.A.)
Look at cases objectively and not with your moral beliefs.
Focus on what the law has to say.
Facts consist of a description of events and transactions that
led one party to initiate legal proceedings.
Questions to consider:
Who are the key participants?
What actually happened?
What laws are involved?
What is the argument? (Both side’s)
Fact v. Opinion
It is hard to differentiate between fact and opinion.
Facts are testable, certain, precise and are not subjective or
emotional responses.
Here are some examples to help:
It was hot
It was 35’C
I believe it was 3:00 p.m.
It was 3:00 p.m.
It was expensive
It was $2000.00
Issue and Decisions
The issue is the statement of the legal question that is
illustrated and answered in the case. If there was no issue,
there would be no reason to be in court.
Decisions are rendered at the end of the court case.
Why Study Law?
The legal system affects almost all aspects of your life. You
need to understand how the system works and what your
rights and responsibilities are as a Canadian Citizen.
Where do you encounter the law?
School – Education Act
Driving – Motor Vehicle Act
Store – Harmonized Sales Tax Act
Jobs – Employment Standards
TV/Lights/Electronics – Electricity Act
Assignment / Homework
Complete the “Reading Citations” handout for tomorrow.