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Flashcards in Chapter 1 Deck (23):

Justice & law definition

Justice is a process of applying the law

Law is a set of rules to maintain order and provide fair treatment to all


Why do we respect the law?

Faith in lawmakers or fear of punishment


What are ethics? (5)

1. No universal definition

2. A concern for the well being of others

3. Moral values of society

4. The “right thing” to do

5. Fairness, conciliation and good faith


Fundamental principles of ethics (5)

1. Be respectful of others

2. Act honestly and fairly

3. Comply with the law

4. Do not act maliciously

5. Inspire trust


Ethics general definition

Ethics are moral values, our personal views on what is right and wrong

Ethical principles are not decided by government lawmakers

Society’s ethical views on appropriate behavior and acceptable conduct changes over time

Changes in ethical beliefs help foster changes to the law


Law vs. ethics

Laws are often slow to change since lawmakers must deal with conflicting ethical views of their constituents

Law sets out defined objective standards and are enforced by the courts
Example: law sets the legal minimum wage rate

Ethical principles on the other hand are subjective in nature and are not enforced by the courts
Example: ethics asks “is the minimum wage rate fair?”


Private vs. Public Law

Private Law: deals with the relationships between persons

Public Law: deals with the relationship between the government acting in an official capacity and its citizens

Enforcement of citizens’ duties to the state, i.e. criminal law and income tax

Breach of public law: punishment

This course only deals with issues of private law


Contractual liability

Contractual liability: CCQ 1458 (p.345)

-Duty to honour contractual undertakings
-Compensation: bodily, moral, material damages


Non-contractual liability

Non-contractual liability (Civil responsibility): CCQ 1457 (p. 345)

-Endowed with reason
Duty not to injure
-Compensation: bodily, moral, material damages
-Vicarious liability (indirect liability)
liability of employer for actions of employee: CCQ 1463 (p. 345)

Does not involve the government acting in its official capacity.

Private law does cover the actions of government where the government is acting in a commercial capacity, i.e. government is an employer or is purchasing goods and services

Breach of private law: compensation for bodily, moral and material injury (damage)


Civil law

Common Law: deals with Federal laws that have common application all across Canada, also applies in all other Canadian provinces for matters under their provincial jurisdiction
Historically based on the British law system where general principles of law were not codified into a Civil Code

When faced with a legal question, lawyers and judges refer to
First: Jurisprudence (previous court cases) in order to determine how judges treated similar situations in the past
Second: Statutes (law) would be examined


Substantive law

Substantive: sets out the specific rights and responsibilities that persons are bound by
Example: Civil Code


Adjectival / Procedural law

Adjectival/Procedural: sets out rules on how substantive laws should be applied
Example: Code of Civil Procedure sets out the steps to take and the order to file documents when instituting a lawsuit
This course only deals with issues of Substantive law



The formal procedure by which a person takes a court action against another person to claim damages / recover a debt / enforce an obligation

Litigation is also referred to as a Lawsuit

Creditor: the person to whom a debt is owed

Debtor: the person who owes a debt / obligation to another

Plaintiff: the person who initiates a lawsuit (litigation) against his/her Debtor

Defendant: the person against whom the lawsuit is taken


Class Action lawsuit

Where multiple persons have a similar claim against a common Defendant, proof of one person’s claim will be sufficient to prove the damages suffered by all Plaintiffs

Example: a Class Action might be taken by all purchasers of a new automobile, Brand X, that has manufacturing defects in its brake system. The cost of repairing the defect in each car is sufficiently similar to allow a judge to render a decision compensating a large number of Plaintiffs, without each Plaintiff having to get their own garage estimate of the repair costs


Benefits of Class Actions

- Saves court time, one lawyer represents all of the Plaintiffs collectively

- Saves legal costs to Plaintiffs, facilitates access to court for those who may not otherwise be able to afford a lawsuit on their own


Where to institute a lawsuit?

The Plaintiff (Creditor) sues the Defendant (Debtor) in the city in which the Defendant is domiciled


If the lawsuit is based on breach of contract?

The parties can stipulate in the contract which court (city) will be competent to hear the case. This clause is called a Choice of Venue (Forum)
the parties can stipulate in the contract which law will apply to govern the contract. This clause is called a Choice of Law



Prescription: after a certain lapse of time, from the date that the obligation was due or from the date that the damage was caused, a Creditor will not be permitted to take a lawsuit to enforce his/her rights.

Under Common Law this is referred to as a Limitation Period.

General rule under the Quebec Civil Code for breach of contract and for non-contractual liability: Prescription 3 years or less


Federal authority

Federal: includes criminal law, currency / banking, immigration, universities, IT property


Provincial authority

Provincial: includes

- Property
- Ownership
- Civil rights
- Contracts / sales / leasing
- Employment law
- Non-contractual responsibility (Civil responsibility)


Sources of law

Sources of Law available to assist judges in rendering a decision

- Statutes: written laws adopted by the government

- Jurisprudence (Case law): court judgments, decisions rendered by judges interpreting statutes or making new law if the statutes are silent



Articles / essays written by legal experts analyzing particular areas of legal concern, especially relevant in areas of law which are new and emerging
Examples: internet transactions (duties, responsibilities, jurisdiction); liability for defamation on social media, cyber bullying


Customs and Usage (Tradition):

Commonly accepted historical practices used in a particular community