Lesson 3: Overview of Court System


Grade Level



2 periods

Lesson Plan (PDF)


In this section, students will become acquainted with Canada’s Court System. They will begin by learning what the purpose of Canada’s court system is, how it originated, and what makes it unique. They will also learn the types of courts in Canada, and learn the basics of what they do. Students will also discuss the pros and cons of having cameras in the courtroom.


By the end of this lesson, students will:

  • Discover what the purpose of Canada’s court system is, how it came to be, and what are its distinguishing features
  • Differentiate between six types of courts in Canada including Federal Court, Federal Appeal Court, Supreme Court of Canada, Court of Appeal for BC, Supreme Court of BC, and Provincial Court of BC
  • Learn what are some of the arguments for and against having cameras in court and will form opinions on when it is appropriate to have them in the courtroom

Focus Questions

  1. What role does Canada’s court system play in the justice system?
  2. What are the different types of courts in Canada and what authority do they have?
  3. How did Canada’s court system develop?
  4. What are the pros and cons of having cameras in court?
  5. What is your opinion on having cameras in courtrooms?

Teaching Summary

Topics 1, 2 & 3: Purpose of the Court System, Jurisdiction of the Courts & History and Traditions

Students will learn about why we have courts, where our court system began, the jurisdiction of the courts and about some distinct features of our court system by reading a handout and answering some questions either individually or in a discussion.

Topic 4: Canada’s Court System

Students will learn about some federal and provincial courts and do a web-quest to find out which courts are being identified in Handout 2: Canada’s and BC’s Court System.

Topic 5: Cameras in the Courtroom

Students will look at why cameras are not allowed in court and will take a position on either side of the issue during a discussion or debate.