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Some Basic Facts on the Canadian Legal System

The Canadian legal system is viewed as a complex code patterned after the common law system of the United Kingdom. All acts of the Canadian law system are highly controlled by the Constitution of Canada in order for it to become enforceable in statute and to remain consistent with this Constitution. Know that the supreme law is much more complex than a single ratified one document. Started as simple statutes, the independent sections of the Canadian Constitutions were ratified independently and then codified in the Constitution afterwards. Additionally, contained in the Supreme Court of Canada is a ruling that the Constitution has to also contain unwritten principles such as 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. Whenever there is a question on which entity has the right to constitutionally create some laws, it is the Supreme Court of Canada that will review the situation and will make the final and indisputable decision about the question.

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. Considered as passive and very symbolic, the role of the monarch in the Parliament is to grant the Royal Assent. In the passing of the bill, note that the Senate serves too this same function. The House of Commons is considered as the most important section of the Parliament, and there are 308 elected representatives in the House who are to be elected and re-elected on an annual 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.

The power to create laws regarding criminal law enforcement may lie with the Canadian Parliament but each province is responsible for the administration of its provincial criminal courts which function on the basis of common law.

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