Lesson 3: Overview of Court System


Activity 1: Understanding What Makes Canada’s Courts Unique

Have students turn in Handout 1: The Characteristics of Canada’s Courts for marks. The answer key is below.

Answer Key: Handout 1: The Characteristics of Canada’s Courts

  1. Why it important to have laws that are enforced by courts?
    It ensures that similar actions are treated in similar ways. This means that people can understand, ahead of time, what the consequences to certain actions might be.
  2. What does a court’s “jurisdiction” refer to?
    A court’s “jurisdiction” is the type of case and physical area that it has legal authority over.
  3. Do all levels of court have their own rules for procedure? Gives two examples of rules this might refer to.
    No, each level of court has its own rules for procedure. These might refer to rules regarding what kinds of documents must be used to start an action and the certain time limits that apply.
  4. When and where did our court system begin?
    The model for our court system comes from feudal times in England.
  5. What are three distinguishing features of our courts?
    • The atmosphere is dignified and formal. For examples, judges and lawyers wear flowing black robes.
    • Aside from a select few exceptions, the court is open to the public.
    • Judges are independent/ impartial. Once appointed, judges are difficult to remove from office and therefore enjoy a security of tenure (guaranteed permanent employment) that gives them some immunity (protection) from threats and bribes.

Activity 2: Web-Quest of Canada’s Court System

Handout 2: Canada’s and BC’s Court System can be turned in for marking. The answer key is below.

Answer Key: Handout 2: Canada’s and BC’s Court System

  1. Provincial Court of BC
  2. Supreme Court of BC
  3. Court of Appeal for BC
  4. Federal Court
  5. Federal Appeal Court
  6. Supreme Court of Canada

Activity 3: Cameras in the Courtroom

This activity does not require marking. You may, however, decide to make note of students who participate in the discussion and grant them participation marks. You can also mark participation in the debate if you have one.