Canada’s legal system

Canada has a federal system of government, meaning that the federal government regulates some areas of law, while provincial and territorial governments regulate other areas.

The Canadian legal system is based on British common law, which has its origins in English law. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Constitution Act, 1982, guarantees certain fundamental rights for all Canadians, irrespective of the province or territory in which they live.

The Canadian legal system is divided into three distinct categories: criminal law, civil law, and administrative law.

Criminal law deals with activities that are considered to be crimes. It sets out the behaviours that are prohibited and the punishments that can be imposed.

Civil law is concerned with disputes between individuals or organizations over matters such as property, contracts, and negligence. It sets out the rights and obligations of each party.

Administrative law is concerned with the activities of government departments and agencies. It sets out the procedures that must be followed when decisions are made by these bodies.

The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the country and is the final court of appeal for most legal matters. Other levels of court include provincial and territorial superior courts, and provincial and territorial courts.