Wiki Wednesday #15

11 07 2007

You know the routine.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Court system of Canada

The Court system of Canada is made up of many courts differing in levels of legal superiority and separated by jurisdiction. Some of the courts are federal in nature while others are provincial or territorial.

The Canadian constitution gives the federal government the exclusive right to legislate criminal law while the provinces have exclusive control over civil law. The provinces have jurisdiction over the administration of justice in their territory. Almost all cases, whether criminal or civil, start in provincial courts and may be eventually appealed to higher level courts. The quite small system of federal courts only hear cases concerned with matters which are under exclusive federal control, such as immigration. The federal government appoints and pays for both the judges of the federal courts and the judges of the superior-level court of each province. The provincial governments are responsible for appointing judges of the lower provincial (“inferior-level”) courts.

This intricate interweaving of federal and provincial powers is typical of the Canadian constitution.

I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before here, but I’m really fond of all things Canadian. When I was in college, in fact, I contemplated (fantasized about?) transferring somewhere where I could major in Canadian Studies. Really. (Canadian Darren Barefoot thinks that’s nuts, by the way.) So it’s pretty cool that this week’s WW is about Canada.

Have you ever read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? It’s a work of beauty. Section 2, for instance, says that “[e]veryone” (not merely every citizen) enjoys several listed “fundamental freedoms,” including “freedom of conscience” and “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” These are familiar ideas, but they’re put forward in a modern, fresh way.

Yes, I’m such a nerd.

By the way, if you’re interested in the Supreme Court of Canada, Osgoode Hall Law School produces an excellent scholarly blog about the court. I check it out pretty frequently.

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