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Family Court

Family Court, the common name of courts established by provincial statutes to administer FAMILY LAW. Judges are appointed by the provincial government.

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Defence Counsel

Defence counsel, lawyer who advises accused (defendants in civil cases) and presents their case to the court, ensuring that clients have a fair trial. If a client is convicted, the defence counsel speaks in respect of sentence.

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Tax Court of Canada

Tax Court of Canada, established 1983, is an independent body under the federal minister of justice. Its objective is to provide an easily accessible tribunal for the disposition of disputes between taxpayers and the minister of national revenue.

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Juvenile Justice Systems

On 7 July 1982, Parliament enacted the Young Offenders Act (effective April 1984, some sections not until 1985), which the government claimed would bring about a long-overdue reform of Canada's juvenile justice system.

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Sovereign Council

The council initially comprised the governor, the bishop, the INTENDANT and 5 councillors. In 1703 membership grew to 12, to which 4 associated judges were added in 1742. Members, usually recruited from the French gentry, were nominated initially by the governor and the bishop and later by the king.

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Stare Decisis

Stare decisis [Latin, "let the decision stand"] refers to the doctrine of precedent, according to which the rules formulated by judges in earlier decisions are to be similarly applied in later cases.

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Ultra Vires-Intra Vires

Ultra Vires-Intra Vires Ultra vires [Lat, "beyond the powers"] is used in CONSTITUTIONAL LAW by the courts who must decide the respective competences of Parliament and provincial legislatures.

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Judges' Salaries (Reference)

The main question in dispute in the reference on judges' salaries (1997) concerned the financial security of judges of provincial courts. In this case the governments of Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Alberta had reduced the salaries of their provincial court judges without prior consultation.

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Cameras in the Court

Canadian courts are open to any member of the public if there is the space, if the court is near enough to them and if they can find the time to attend. For years Canadian media have argued for television camera access to court proceedings.

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Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court, the common name of courts established by provincial legislation for civil matters involving small sums of money. In Québec, the upper limit of the small claims court is $7 000, but in the other provinces it is $1000, $2000 or $3000.

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Bedard Case

R v. Bedard (1971) challenged section 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act, which concerns the rights of Status Indian women in Canada. The appellant in the case, Yvonne Bedard, took the federal government to court after losing her rights as a Status Indian because of her marriage to a Non-Status man. In 1973, before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Bedard case merged with AG v. Lavell, another case concerning gender discrimination (see Status of Women) in the Indian Act. Although Bedard ultimately lost her reinstatement claims, her case inspired future legal battles regarding women’s rights and the Indian Act, including Lovelace v. Canada (1981) (see Sandra Lovelace Nicholas) and the Descheneaux case (2015).

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Supreme Court of Canada

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.