Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a neutral style that identifies a decision regardless of where it is reported. Case citations are formatted differently in different jurisdictions, but contain the same key information. A legal citation is a "reference to a legal precedent or authority, such as a case, statute, or treatise, that either substantiates or contradicts a given position." Where cases are published on paper, the citation contains the following information: Court that issued the decision Report title Volume number Page, section, or paragraph number Publication yearIn some report series, for example in England and some in Canada, volumes are not numbered independently of the year: thus the year and volume number are required to identify which book of the series has the case reported within its covers. In such citations, it is usual in these jurisdictions to apply square brackets "" to the year.
The Internet brought with it the opportunity for courts to publish their decisions on websites and most published court decisions now appear in that way. They can be found through many national and other websites, such as WorldLII, that are operated by members of the Free Access to Law Movement; the resulting flood of unpaginated information has led to numbering of paragraphs and the adoption of a medium-neutral citation system. This contains the following information: Year of decision Abbreviated title of the court Decision number Rather than utilizing page numbers for pinpoint references, which would depend upon particular printers and browsers, pinpoint quotations refer to paragraph numbers; the conjunction "versus" is abbreviated to "v" in Commonwealth countries and to "v." in the United States. In common law countries with an adversarial system of justice, the names of the opposing parties are separated in the case title by the abbreviation v—usually written as v in Commonwealth countries and always as v. in the US.
The abbreviation represents the Latin word versus. When case titles are read out loud, the v can be pronounced, depending on the context, as and, versus, or vee. Commonwealth countries follow English legal style: Civil cases are pronounced with and. For example, Smith v Jones would be pronounced "Smith and Jones". Criminal cases are pronounced with against. For example, R v Smith would be pronounced "the Crown against Smith"; the Latin words Rex and versus are all rendered into English. Versus and vee are incorrect. In the United States, there is no consensus on the pronunciation of the abbreviation v; this has led to much confusion about the pronunciation and spelling of court cases: Versus is most used, leading some newspapers to use the common abbreviation vs. in place of the legal abbreviation v. Vee is heard but is not as common. Against is a matter of personal style. For example, Warren E. Burger and John Paul Stevens preferred to announce cases at the Supreme Court with against, and is used by some law professors, but other law professors regard it as an affectation.
During oral arguments in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the participants demonstrated the lack of consensus by using different pronunciations of v. Solicitor General Ken Starr managed to use all three of the most common American pronunciations interchangeably: Kenneth W. Starr: This is the process of analysis, quite familiar to the Court lengthily laid out by Justice Harlan in his dissent in Poe versus Ullman, adumbrated in his concurring opinion in Griswold against Connecticut.... Well, I think that, the necessary consequence of Roe vee Wade. Legal citation in Australia mirrors the methods of citation used in England. A used guide to Australian legal citation is the Australian Guide to Legal Citation, published jointly by the Melbourne University Law Review and the Melbourne Journal of International Law; the standard case citation format in Australia is: As in Canada, there has been divergence among citation styles. There exist commercial citation guides published by Butterworths and other legal publishing companies, academic citation styles and court citation styles.
Each court in Australia may cite the same case differently. There is presently a movement in convergence to the comprehensive academic citation style of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation published jointly by the Melbourne University Law Review and the Melbourne Journal of International Law. Australian courts and tribunals have now adopted a neutral citation standard for case law; the format provides a naming system that does not depend on the publication of the case in a law report. Most cases are now published on AustLII using neutral citations; the standard format looks like this: So the above-mentioned Mabo case would be cited like this: Mabo v Queensland HCA 23. There is a unique court identifier code for most courts; the court and tribunal identifiers include: Australian Guide to Legal Citation There are a number of citation standards in Canada. Many legal publishing companies and schools have their own standard for citation. Since the late 1990s, much of the legal community has converged to a single standard—formulated in The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation known as the "McGill Guide" after the McGill Law Journal, which first published it.
The following format reflects this standard: Hunter v Southam, 2 SCR 145. Broken into its component parts, the format is: The Style of Cause is i
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in Canada simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982; the Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles; the Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada on April 17, 1982, along with the rest of the Act. The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights is only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document; as a federal statute, it can be amended through the ordinary legislative process and has no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court was reluctant to declare laws inoperative; the relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada.
The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The British Parliament formally enacted the Charter as a part of the Canada Act 1982 at the request of the Parliament of Canada in 1982, the result of the efforts of the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to expand the scope of judicial review, because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights; the courts, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional federal and provincial statutes and regulations or parts of statutes and regulations, as they did when Canadian case law was concerned with resolving issues of federalism. The Charter, granted new powers to the courts to enforce remedies that are more creative and to exclude more evidence in trials.
These powers are greater than what was typical under the common law and under a system of government that, influenced by Canada's parent country the United Kingdom, was based upon Parliamentary supremacy. As a result, the Charter has attracted both broad support from a majority of the Canadian electorate and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power; the Charter only applies to government laws and actions, sometimes to the common law, not to private activity. Under the Charter, people physically present in Canada have numerous political rights. Most of the rights can be exercised by any legal person, but a few of the rights belong to natural persons, or only to citizens of Canada; the rights are enforceable by the courts through section 24 of the Charter, which allows courts discretion to award remedies to those whose rights have been denied. This section allows courts to exclude evidence in trials if the evidence was acquired in a way that conflicts with the Charter and might damage the reputation of the justice system.
Section 32 confirms that the Charter is binding on the federal government, the territories under its authority, the provincial governments. The rights and freedoms enshrined in 34 sections of the Charter include: Precluding all the freedoms and forming the basis of the Charter, the first section, known as limitations clause, allows governments to justify certain infringements of Charter rights; every case in which a court discovers a violation of the Charter would therefore require a section 1 analysis to determine if the law can still be upheld. Infringements are upheld if the purpose for the government action is to achieve what would be recognized as an urgent or important objective in a free society, if the infringement can be "demonstrably justified." Section 1 has thus been used to uphold laws against objectionable conduct such as hate speech and obscenity. Section 1 confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed. In addition, some of these rights are subjected to the notwithstanding clause.
The notwithstanding clause authorizes governments to temporarily override the rights and freedoms in sections 2 and 7–15 for up to five years, subject to renewal. The Canadian federal government has never invoked it, some have speculated that its use would be politically costly. In the past, the notwithstanding clause was invoked by the province of Quebec; the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta have invoked the notwithstanding clause, to end a strike and to protect an heterosexual definition of marriage, respectively. The territory of Yukon passed legislation once that invoked the notwithstanding clause, but the legislation was never proclaimed in force. Section 2: which lists what the Charter calls "fundamental freedoms" namely freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association; the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic form of government are protect
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada. Canada is one of the oldest constitutional democracies in the world; the constitution outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada. The composition of the Constitution of Canada is defined in subsection 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as consisting of the Canada Act 1982, all acts and orders referred to in the schedule, any amendments to these documents; the Supreme Court of Canada has held that the list is not exhaustive and includes a number of pre-confederation acts and unwritten components as well. See list of Canadian constitutional documents for details; the first semblance of a constitution for Canada was the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The act renamed the northeasterly portion of the former French province of New France as Province of Quebec coextensive with the southern third of contemporary Quebec; the proclamation, which established an appointed colonial government, was the constitution of Quebec until 1774, when the British parliament passed the Quebec Act, which expanded the province's boundaries to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, one of the grievances listed in the United States Declaration of Independence.
The Quebec Act replaced the French criminal law presumption of guilty until proven innocent with the English criminal law presumption of innocent until proven guilty. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 ended the American War of Independence and sent a wave of British loyalist refugees northward to Quebec and Nova Scotia. In 1784, the two provinces were divided; the winter of 1837–38 saw rebellion in both of the Canadas, with the result they were rejoined as the Province of Canada in 1841. This was reversed by the British North America Act in 1867. On 1 July 1867, there were four provinces in confederation as "One dominion under the name of Canada": Canada West, Canada East, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Title to the Northwest Territories was transferred by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870 and the province of Manitoba was in the same year the first created out of it. British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, followed by Prince Edward Island in 1873; the Yukon Territory was created by Parliament in 1898, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.
The Dominion of Newfoundland, Britain's oldest colony in the Americas, joined Canada as a province in 1949. Nunavut was created in 1999. An Imperial Conference in 1926 that included the leaders of all Dominions and representatives from India, led to the eventual enactment of the Statute of Westminster 1931; the statute, an essential transitory step from the British Empire to the Commonwealth of Nations, provided that all existing Dominions became sovereign of the United Kingdom and all new Dominions would be sovereign upon the grant of Dominion status. Newfoundland never ratified the statute, so it was still subject to imperial authority when its entire system of government and economy collapsed in the mid-1930s. Canada did ratify the statute, but had requested an exception because the Canadian federal and provincial governments could not agree on an amending formula for the Canadian constitution, it would be another 50 years. In the interim, the British parliament periodically passed enabling acts with respect to amendments to Canada's constitution.
The patriation of the Canadian constitution was achieved in 1982 when the British parliament, with the assent of the Canadian parliament, passed the Canada Act 1982, which included in its schedules the Constitution Act, 1982, the United Kingdom thus formally absolving itself of any remaining responsibility for, or jurisdiction over, Canada. In a formal ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed both acts as law on 17 April 1982. Constitution Act, 1982, included the Canadian Charter of Freedoms. Prior to the charter, there were various statutes which protected an assortment of civil rights and obligations, but nothing was enshrined in the constitution until 1982; the charter has thus placed a strong focus upon individual and collective rights of the people of Canada. Enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has fundamentally changed much of Canadian constitutional law; the act codified many oral constitutional conventions and made amendment of the constitution more difficult.
The Canadian federal constitution could be amended by solitary act of the Canadian or British parliaments, by formal or informal agreement between the federal and provincial governments, or simply by adoption as ordinary custom of an oral convention or unwritten tradition, perceived to be the best way to do something. Since the act, amendments must now conform to certain specified provisions in the written portion of the Canadian constitution; this was an Act of the British parliament called the British North America Act 1867. It outlined Canada's system of govern
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada, the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial and federal appellate courts, its decisions are the ultimate expression and application of Canadian law and binding upon all lower courts of Canada, except to the extent that they are overridden or otherwise made ineffective by an Act of Parliament or the Act of a provincial legislative assembly pursuant to section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The creation of the Supreme Court of Canada was provided for by the British North America Act, 1867, renamed in 1982 the Constitution Act, 1867; the first bills for the creation of a federal supreme court, introduced in the Parliament of Canada in 1869 and in 1870, were withdrawn. It was not until 8 April 1875 that a bill was passed providing for the creation of a Supreme Court of Canada. However, prior to 1949, the Supreme Court did not constitute the court of last resort: litigants could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
As well, some cases could bypass the court and go directly to the Judicial Committee from the provincial courts of appeal. The Supreme Court formally became the court of last resort for criminal appeals in 1933 and for all other appeals in 1949; the last decisions of the Judicial Committee on cases from Canada were made in the mid-1950s, as a result of their being heard in a court of first instance prior to 1949. The increase in the importance of the Court was mirrored by the numbers of its members; the Court was established first with six judges, these were augmented by an additional member in 1927. In 1949, the bench reached its current composition of nine justices. Prior to 1949, most of the appointees to the Court owed their position to political patronage; each judge had strong ties to the party in power at the time of their appointment. In 1973, the appointment of a constitutional law professor Bora Laskin as chief justice represented a major turning point for the Court. In this period, appointees either came from academic backgrounds or were well-respected practitioners with several years experience in appellate courts.
Laskin's federalist and liberal views were shared by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who recommended Laskin's appointment to the Court. The Constitution Act, 1982 expanded the role of the Court in Canadian society by the addition of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which broadened the scope of judicial review; the evolution from the Dickson court through to the Lamer court witnessed a continuing vigour in the protection of civil liberties. Lamer's criminal law background proved an influence on the number of criminal cases heard by the Court during his time as chief justice. Nonetheless, the Lamer court was more conservative with Charter rights, with only about a 1% success rate for Charter claimants. Lamer was succeeded as chief justice by Beverly McLachlin in January 2000, she is the first woman to hold that position. McLachlin's appointment resulted in a more centrist and unified Court. Dissenting and concurring opinions were fewer than during the Lamer Courts. With the 2005 appointments of Justices Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella, the court became the world's most gender-balanced national high court, four of its nine members being female.
Justice Marie Deschamps' retirement on 7 August 2012 caused the number to fall to three, however the appointment of Suzanne Côté on 1 December 2014 restored the number to four. After serving on the Court for 28 years, 259 days, McLachlin retired in December 2017, her successor as chief justice is Richard Wagner. The structure of the Canadian court system is pyramidal, a broad base being formed by the various provincial and territorial courts whose judges are appointed by the provincial or territorial governments. At the next level are the provinces' and territories' superior courts, where judges are appointed by the federal government. Judgments from the superior courts may be appealed to a still higher level, the provincial or territorial courts of appeal. Several federal courts exist: the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. Unlike the provincial superior courts, which exercise inherent or general jurisdiction, the federal courts' jurisdiction is limited by statute.
In all, there are over 1,000 federally appointed judges at various levels across Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada rests at the apex of the judicial pyramid; this institution hears appeals from the provincial courts of last resort the provincial or territorial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, although in some matters appeals come straight from the trial courts, as in the case of publication bans and other orders that are otherwise not appealable. In most cases, permission to appeal must first be obtained from the court. Motions for leave to appeal to the Court are heard by a panel of three judges of the Court and a simple majority is determinative. By convention, this panel never explains why it grants or refuses leave in any particular case, but the Court hears cases of national importance or where the case allows the Court to settle an important issue of law. Leave is granted, meaning that for most litigants, provincial courts of appeal are courts of last resort, but leave to appeal is not required for some cases criminal cases and appeals from provincial references.
A final source of cases is the referral power of the federa