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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 abbreviation 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.) Ontario Court of Appeals. Denotes the jurisdiction and court where the case was held. In this case, it was held in the


Cases – continued . . .

Civil Court Cempel v. Harrison Hot Springs Hotel Ltd. [1998] 6 W.W.R. 233 (B.C.C.A.) 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 Appeals.


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 I believe it was 3:00 p.m.

It was expensive


It was 35’C It was 3:00 p.m.

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.