The main features of the canadian constitution and the supreme court of canada

Last Edited June 9, The Supreme Court of Canada is the court of last resort for all legal issues in Canada, including those of federal and provincial jurisdiction. From humble beginnings as an opaque body subject to being overruled by the British Privy Council, the court now has the final judicial say on a broad range of contentious legal and social issues, ranging from the availability of abortion to the constitutionality of capital punishment and assisted suicide. It is the final arbiter of law in a court system based primarily on common law using judicial precedent and on respect for the rule of stare decisis — the notion that courts of appeal may modify or overturn lower court decisions, to ensure there is uniform application of the law.

The main features of the canadian constitution and the supreme court of canada

Various military courts called courts martial: General Court Martial Standing Court Martial Summary Trial hearings The courts martial are conducted and presided over by military personnel and exist for the prosecution of military personnel, as well as civilian personnel who accompany military personnel, accused of violating the Code of Service Disciplinewhich is found in the National Defence ActRSCc N-5 and constitutes a complete code of military law applicable to persons under military jurisdiction.

The decisions of the courts martial can be appealed to the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada which, in contrast, exists outside the military and is made up of civilian judges.

This appellate court is the successor of the Court Martial Appeal Board which was created inpresided over by civilian judges and lawyers, and was the first ever civilian-based adjudicating body with authority to review decisions by a military court. Summary trials are ad hoc hearings used to dispense with minor service offenses.

Federal and provincial administrative tribunals[ edit ] Known in Canada as simply "tribunals", these are quasi-judicial adjudicative bodies, which means that they adjudicate hear evidence and render decisions like courts, but are not necessarily presided over by judges.

Instead, the adjudicators may be experts of the very specific legal field handled by the tribunal e. The reviewing court may be required to show some deference to the tribunal if the tribunal possesses some highly specialized expertise or knowledge that the court does not have.

The degree of deference will also depend on such factors as the specific wording of the legislation creating the tribunal. Tribunals whose enabling legislation contains a privative clause are entitled to a high degree of deference, although a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada Dunsmuir v New BrunswickSCC 9 has arguably lowered that degree of deference.

The extent to which tribunals may use the Charter in their decisions is a source of ongoing legal debate. While relevant evidence is admissible, evidence which the adjudicator determines to have questionable reliability, or is otherwise questionable, is most likely to be afforded little or no weight.

As is the case in court, lawyers routinely appear in tribunals advocating matters for their clients. A person does not require a lawyer to appear before an administrative tribunal.

Indeed, many of these tribunals are specifically designed to be more representative to unrepresented litigants than courts.

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Furthermore, some of these tribunals are part of a comprehensive dispute-resolution system, which may emphasize mediation rather than litigation.

For example, provincial human rights commissions routinely use mediation to resolve many human rights complaints without the need for a hearing. What tribunals all have in common is that they are created by statute, their adjudicators are usually appointed by government, and they focus on very particular and specialized areas of law.

Because some subject matters e. There are both federal and provincial tribunals for some subject matters such as unionized labour and human rights. In other words, a tribunal adjudicator could legally make a decision that differs from a past decision, on the same subject and issues, delivered by the highest court in the land.

The Canadian Constitution: Introduction to Canada’s Constitutional Framework |

Because a tribunal is not bound by legal precedent, established by itself or by a reviewing court, a tribunal is not a court even though it performs an important adjudicative function and contributes to the development of law like a court would do.

Although stare decisis does not apply to tribunals, their adjudicators will likely nonetheless find a prior court decision on a similar subject to be highly persuasive and will likely follow the courts in order to ensure consistency in the law and to prevent the embarrassment of having their decisions overturned by the courts.

The same is true for past decisions of the tribunal. Among the federal tribunals, there is a small group of tribunals whose decisions must be appealed directly to the Federal Court of Appeal rather than to the Federal Court Trial Division.

Courts of inherent jurisdiction[ edit ] The superior courts from the provinces and territories are courts of inherent jurisdictionwhich means that the jurisdiction of the superior courts is more than just what is conferred by statute. Following the principles of English common law, because the superior courts derive their authority from the Constitution, they can hear any matter unless there is a federal or provincial statute that says otherwise or that gives exclusive jurisdiction to some other court or tribunal.

The main features of the canadian constitution and the supreme court of canada

The doctrine of inherent jurisdiction gives superior courts greater freedom than statutory courts to be flexible and creative in the delivering of legal remedies and relief. Statutory courts[ edit ] The Supreme Court of Canadathe federal courts, the various appellate courts from the provinces and territories, and the numerous low-level provincial courts are statutory courts whose decision-making power is granted by either the federal parliament or a provincial legislature.

A statutory court cannot try cases in areas of law that are not mentioned or suggested in the statute. In this sense, statutory courts are similar to non-judicial adjudicative bodies such as administrative tribunals, boards, and commissions, which are created and given limited power by legislation.

The practical implication of this is that a statutory court cannot provide a type of legal remedy or relief that is not expressly or implicitly referred to in its enabling or empowering statute. Appointment and regulation of judges[ edit ] Main article: Judicial appointments in Canada Judges in Canada are appointed and not elected.

Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, the federal courts, the appellate courts and the superior-level courts are appointed by the Governor-in-Council by the Governor General on the advice of the Federal Cabinet. Meanwhile, judicial appointments to judicial posts in the so-called "inferior" or "provincial" courts are made by the local provincial governments.

As judicial independence is seen by Canadian law to be essential to a functioning democracy, the regulating of Canadian judges requires the involvement of the judges themselves.

The Canadian Judicial Councilmade up of the chief justices and associate chief justices of the federal courts and of each province and territory, receive complaints from the public concerning questionable behaviour from members of the bench.

Salaries of superior courts are set by Parliament under section of the Constitution Act, Tenure of judges and removal from the bench[ edit ] Judges in positions that are under federal control federally appointed positions are eligible to serve on the bench until age In some but not all Provincial and Territorial positions, appointed judges have tenure until age 70 instead.

As for removal from the bench, judges have only rarely been removed from the bench in Canada.

Federalism Defined

For federally appointed judges, it is the task of The Canadian Judicial Council to investigate complaints and allegations of misconduct on the part of federally appointed judges. The Council may recommend to the federal Minister of Justice that the judge be removed.President Trump was granted a small but significant win by the Supreme Court yesterday.

The issue: His decision last fall to end “DACA,” former President Obama’s program that protected young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors. The Court decided to expedite its decision-making process on the contentious issue that is DACA repeal.

The term "Supreme Court" can be confusing as it could suggest a final appellate court, like the Supreme Court of Canada; in fact, each province has a Court of Appeal superior to its superior court, except in Newfoundland and Labrador where appeals lie to the Appeals Division of the Supreme Court.

Federal/Provincial Judicial Powers. The Constitution Act of provides for the establishment and operation of Canada's professional judiciary. 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. Get the latest international news and world events from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and more.

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See world news photos and videos at The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (French: La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), in Canada often simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of forms the first part of the Constitution Act, The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all.

Introduction to status and role of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Canada is the nation’s highest court of appeal. In understanding its role further, it is useful to discuss the Supreme Court within the context of Canada’s judicial system.

Role of the Canadian Court System. The courts are the interpreters and arbitrators of Canadian law.

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