Chapter 1: Law and Society

Everyone is governed by law. It is a part of our
everyday life.
Employees and employers are under labour
Laws to own and drive cars, rent or buy
Laws regulating the use of the environment.
Laws regulate what we eat and drink.
Canada’s legal system
strives to represent
principles Canadians
believe in an value.
Over time laws change.
It is important to study
the law so that the
legal system continues
to work and can be
effectively changed if
needed to suit the
values and morals of
the current generation.
What is a rule? What is a law? How are they
the same? How are they different?
Rules are like laws but are not enforced by the
courts or legal system of Canada.
Rules do not apply to everyone equally and can
easily be changed compared to changing a law.
The punishment for breaking a law is more
severe than breaking a rule.
Rules are not laws, but all laws are rules.
Laws regulate our social, political and
economic activities from birth till death.
Laws restrict whom we marry, who gets our
money when we die, whether we can put a
swimming pool in our back yard
A three part principle of justice:
 Individuals must recognize and accept
laws are necessary to regulate society.
 The law applies equally to everyone.
 No one in society has the authority to
exercise unrestricted power to take away
our rights except in accordance with the
Laws for the most part reflect our collective
community standards. Laws based on morality
suggest the values, attitudes, and beliefs that
citizens hold in common.
Individuals and groups who do not share these
moral values are free to speak out publicly and try
and change the law.
All cases are the same should be treated the same
and different cases differently.
Laws are unjust if they discriminates on the basis
of irrelevant characteristics.
Justice should be impartial.
Laws should conform to society’s values and
Why do you think it is important to study the
laws of your country?
How do rules differ from laws?
Why do we need laws in society?
Identify the three aspects of the Rule of Law.
What is the relationship between the law and
morality in Canadian society?
Use your own examples to explain each of the
four agreed upon characteristics of justice.
One of the earliest code of
laws is the Code of
Hammurabi was the king
of Babylon and during his
reign he codified or
recorded the laws and
penalties for every aspect
of life in his kingdom.
Many of Hammurabi’s
laws were based either on
retribution or restitution.
If anyone is committing a robbery and is caught then
he shall be put to death.
 If anyone opens his ditches to water his crops, but is
careless, and the water floods the fields of his
neighbour, then he shall pay for the loss.
 If a man takes a wife and she is seized by disease, and
if he then desires to take a second wife, he shall not
put away his first wife. But he shall keep her in the
house and support her as long as she lives.
If a man has a debt to repay, he can give his wife, son, or
daughter as labor for three years to repay the money
 If fire breaks out in a house, and someone who comes to
put it out takes the property of the master of the house,
he shall be thrown into the same fire.
 If a man has destroyed the eye of another free man, his
own eye shall be destroyed.
 If a builder has built a house for a man, and the house
falls in, he shall replace all that has been destroyed; if it
kills the householder, that builder shall be slain. If it kills
the house owner's son or daughter, the builder's
son/daughter will be put to death.
One of the greatest influences on our law is biblical or
Mosaic Law.
These laws , now commonly called the Ten
Commandments, were written 500 years after the death
of Hammurabi.
They punished the deliberate action more than an
accidental act of harm.
Mosaic law was more likely to punish the guilty party
than allow a person of high status to shift punishment to a
person of lesser status.
A major difference was that in Mosaic law care for the
poor was expressed as people were commanded to leave
a portion of their crops for the poor to harvest.
The earliest form of
democracy was born in
Ancient Greece. Citizens
were required to vote,
take part in the military
and serve jury duty.
The earliest jury can be
traced to the Greek city
of Athens as far back as
400 B.C.
The largest Greek jury
consisted of over 6000
There were two basic principles of Roman Law:
The earliest Roman law code was known as the 12
Tablets. It was compiled by a committee of 10 men
around 450 B.C.
1) The law must be recorded
2) Justice could not be left in the hands of judges alone to
The tablets promoted the public prosecution of crimes, enacted
a system of victim compensation, and protected the lower class.
The laws became so complex as the Empire
increased in size that it was common for people to
seek legal advice from people who specialized in
the law.
Emperor Justinian of
the Byzantine Empire
commissioned 10 men
to study and clarify the
1600 books of laws.
These were
reorganized and would
become known as
Justinian’s Code which
would form the basis
of modern day justice.
Emperor Justinian who ruled from
527 to 565 A.D.
After the Revolution in
France in 1789 a man by the
name of Napoleon
Bonaparte gained power.
He reorganized the legal
system in France making
the law more accessible to
the public.
As Napoleon conquered
countries in Europe he
brought with him his new
legal system which
regulated not only criminal
issues but civil issues such
as property, wills, contracts,
and family law.
Identify one of the earliest known written legal
Name the set of laws found in the Book of
Exodus in the Bible.
What role did the people known as citizens
play in Greek society?
Which society had the first paid legal advisers?
How did the Justinian and Napoleonic Codes
contribute to the development of modern law?
Canadian law reflects
many aspects of
Mosaic, Greek, Roman
and French law, but
the greatest influence
on our legal system is
As Canada was once a
colony of England we
have inherited many of
England's laws and
Until close to 410 A.D. Great Britain was under
Roman law. However after the fall of the
Empire Roman laws gave way to local customs
and traditions.
Trial by Ordeal: In this situation the accused was
to undergo torture and guilt or innocence was
determined by the outcome.
Trail by Oath Helping: Used in less serious cases;
the accused could get friends to swear on the
Bible that he or she was innocent.
Trial by Combat: The two
parties involved in a
dispute would engage in
a duel (swordfight). It
was believed that God
was on the side of the
person who was truthful
and therefore the winner
would be proven right.
Although in our present
legal system there is no
physical fighting it is
based on the same
principle of adversarial
During the Middle Ages Kings believed that their
power was given to them by God which placed
them “above the law”. This concept was known as
“Divine Right”.
In the feudal system in England each British lord
was in control of a parcel of land (a fief) and
everything and everyone in it was considered his
Each lord ruled his land differently handing out
justice as he saw fit. This would lead to
discrepancies in the legal process across England.
To deal with the differences across his country,
King Henry II appointed judges, called assizes, to
travel the land settling disputes.
Theses assizes however had no codified law to judge
by so they relied on their own common sense and
local traditions.
After a period of time they noticed similarities in
cases and began to record judgments to help them
and others deal with similar situations. This was
the basis for case law or common law.
Each time a decision was made it created a
precedent or a standard which to go by. After time
people began judging on precedent or earlier
decisions of similar cases. This was known as stare
Henry II died in 1189
and in June 1215 King
John signed the
Magna Carta.
This was significant
because it limited the
power of the King
and he was no longer
above the law.
The Magna Carta also
called the Great
Charter was the first
step in establishing
basic rights of the
people of England.
It recognized the
concept of the Rule of
Another important part
of the Magna Carta
was the concept of
Habeas Corpus.
This guaranteed a
person could not be
held in jail without just
This concept still exists
in our legal system
When British and European settlers came to North
America, they encountered well-established
Aboriginal communities.
Around 1450 five Aboriginal Nations came
together and were joined by a sixth in 1720 to form
the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations.
The Constitution of the Confederacy was recorded
in the Great Binding Law.
The Great Binding Law outlined the rights, duties
and responsibilities of the people and included
laws covering adoption, emigration, treason and
How was trial by “oath helping” similar to the
jury system of Greek law? How was it
Describe the importance of the Magna Carta for
the people of England?
Explain the meaning of “case law”.
Define the meaning of “rule of precedent”.
Common law
Code of Hammurabi
Habeas Corpus
Magna Carta
Mosaic Law
Rule of Law
Rule of Precedent
Case Law
Adversarial System
Answer the Following Questions on page 31 in
your text:
1: a,b,c,d,e,f,g,i,j,k,l
 2: a,b
 3
 4
 5
 6
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