The Justice System

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1. Are Supreme Court appointments considered democratic?

*Answer: Discuss the controversies and undemocratic methods behind patronage appointments, including its nomination and screening processes, the judge’s political independence, and the connection between the Supreme Court appointments to party ties.

2. Compare and distinguish between civil and common law.

*Answer: Common law: based on customs, usage and precedents, as well as case law.

Civil law: based on legal traditions and the civil code (such as Quebec’s civil law). Both traditions apply to private law (only).

3. Do you think that courts are making political decisions? Why or why not?

*Answer: Discuss the role of the different courts (federal, courts of appeal, and Supreme Court of Canada).

4. In many provinces, the same official fulfils multiple separate roles in the justice system. How might the fusion of the minister of justice, attorney general, minister of public safety, and solicitor general impact the nature of the justice system?

*Answer: Discuss the unique political and legal functions of these positions, and the conflicts of interest or tensions that may arise from having the same person fulfilling all of them (e.g. prosecutorial independence in jeopardy).

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