Edited by Jan M. Smits
Canada, situated in northern North America, is the second largest country in the world. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is administered by a federal system of government, whereby the authority to make and administer laws is constitutionally divided between the federal government and the governments of ten provinces and three territories. Canada’s legal system reflects a blend of English and French traditions brought by settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as aspects of Aboriginal law and custom. The mixed legal system of Canada is highlighted by the importance of the English common law tradition in most of the country, and the Civil Code of Quebec, which is modelled on the French Code Napoleon. Canada has inherited a great deal from the British legal tradition, including its jurisprudence from English courts, its use of juries, its adoption of the adversarial system, and its approach to legal education and training. The province of Quebec is Canada’s only civil law jurisdiction and its unique bijural system reflects Canada’s hybrid legal origins in many ways. For example, while Quebec’s private law system is based on the civil law model, its court system and public law reflect a common law approach.
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