Lesson 3: Overview of Court System


Canada’s and BC’s Courts

  1. Have students write a paper comparing the court system in Canada to that of another country.
  1. Research any of the following questions and prepare a short speech to present to the class. Use the Internet and type in the name of the court you are researching.
    • What is a Remand Court and what happens there?
    • What is the Federal Court of Canada? What type of cases do they hear?
    • What is the purpose of the Citizenship Court? How does it function and how often is it in session?
    • How does the Supreme Court of Canada decide which cases it will accept for appeal? What is the procedure for arguing an appeal?
    • How does the Court of Appeal for BC decide which cases it will accept for appeal? What is the procedure for arguing an appeal?
    • Who can go to Traffic Court? What if the decision made needs to be appealed? Is that possible? What is the procedure?
    • What is the difference between a justice of the peace, a judge, and a justice? What is the jurisdiction of each and how are they selected?
    • What is the difference between the Family Division of the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court when they handle family matters?

Cameras in the Courtroom

There was a recent case in BC where the judge allowed cameras in the courtroom to record the final submissions of counsel at the close of the trial of nine men accused of smuggling people into Canada.

Have students find out more about this case. The case citation is “HMTQ vs. Cho et al. (2000), BCSC 1162.” for the only case in Canada where cameras were allowed to film the closing summations of counsel. HMTQ stands for Her Majesty the Queen. The full text of the ruling can be found at www.courts.gov.bc.ca. Click the “Search JDB” button, then search the Supreme Court of BC database for the civil case, HMTQ vs. Cho et al.

Ask them to find out what the judge’s reasons for allowing the cameras to come into the courtroom were, and whether there was an objection to it from either the Crown or the Defence? Have students prepare an oral report on their findings and present it to the class.