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Some Basic Facts on the Canadian Legal System

The legal system in Canada is largely based on the United Kingdom’s common law system and is considered a complex code. The Canadian law system is also supremely controlled by the Constitution of Canada, where all acts passed by the legislature if these are to be an enforceable statute and thus have to be consistently remain with its Constitution. Compared to a single document ratified once, the supreme law though is very much more complex than that. Over the years, the independent sections of the Constitution have been ratified and it contains acts that were passed as simple statutes but later on being coded in the Constitution. Furthermore, there was a ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada for the Constitution to have some unwritten principles that cover federalism, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for minorities.

Under the Canadian Constitution is the Constitution Act of 1847 which is one of the main acts in the Constitution enumerating the powers of the governments under the federal and provincial system. Included in the powers of the federal government are the enforcement of criminal law, immigration enforcement, banking regulation, laws that promote peace and order in the country, and the regulation of trade and commerce in the provinces. On the other hand the provincial governments control the municipal law, civil rights laws, hospital regulation and creation, and government education. If there will be some disagreements that will arise as to which entity has the Constitutional right to create certain laws, the body that will analyze the situation and make the final decision which is indisputable about the matter is the Supreme Court of Canada.

Being the active federal lawmaking entity for the whole nation, the Canadian Parliament has powers that span into three branches of which are the House of Commons, the Canadian Senate, and the monarch. Granting the Royal Assent is the monarch’s role in the Parliament, and this is considered passive but largely symbolic. The Senate on the other hand can serve the same function when passing the bill. Considered as the most important section of the Parliament is the House of Commons, and it contains 308 representatives being elected and re-elected on a yearly basis. It is also the House of Commons that is responsible for the drafting and ratification of any legislative acts proposal, while both Canadian Senate and monarch simply grant assent.

Although it is the Canadian Parliament that has the power to create laws regarding criminal law, each of the provinces is still responsible for the administration of provincial criminal courts that operates basing the common law.

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