Law and Society

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					Law and Society
Chapter 1
Law is everywhere
•   Birth
•   Death
•   Marriage
•   Work
•   Taxes
•   Leisure activities
•   Transportation
•   Residence
Rules vs. Laws

• Rules = guidelines
• Laws = mandatory rules
What is Law?

• Laws govern what is and is not
• “Laws regulate our social,
  political, and economic
  activities from birth to death”
• Laws change over time and
  reflect a society’s values and
What is Law?

• Are laws always just?
• Why do laws differ from one
  city, province, country to
• Are restrictive laws always
Why do we need laws?

• Predictability
• Dispute resolution
• Regulate our interactions with
• safety
Rule of Law
• Recognize and accept that laws
  are necessary to regulate
• No one is above the law –
  it applies equally to
• No one has absolute power to
  take away the rights of others
  – Restrictions must be
    implemented according to the
Basis of Laws
• Rights
   – guaranteed protection to all by the
     government, except under special
• Values
   – what people feel are important, consider
     acceptable and appropriate.
• Morality
• Justice/Fairness
   – Does fair always mean equal?

• What happens when these conflict?
Principles of Justice

• “treat like cases alike and
  different cases differently”
• Must not discriminate based
  on irrelevant characteristics
• Must be impartial
• Must conform to society’s
  values and beliefs
Why do Laws change?

• New situations arise
  – Technological change
• Laws become out of
  – Where you can tie up your horse
• Society’s values/morals change
  – Capital punishment
  – abortion
Historical Roots of Law (Written)

• Great Laws of Manu - India
  – 1280-880 BCE
• Code of Li k’vei - China
  – 350 BCE
• Code of Hammurabi
  – 1792-1750 BCE
  – Codified laws
     • Retribution
     • Restitution
Historical Roots of Law (Written)

• Mosaic Law (Biblical)
  –   Ten Commandments
  –   Book of Exodus
  –   Punishment for deliberate harm
  –   Care for the poor
  –   Harsher punishments for those of
      a higher social status
Historical Roots of Law

• Greek Law (400 BCE)
  – Democracy
  – Based on “citizens”
     • Excluded women, children, slaves,
  – Participatory
  – Voting
  – Juries
     • 101, 501, 1001
Historical Roots of Law

• Roman Law (450 BCE)
  – Codified/Recorded laws
     • Compiled by a committee of 10 men
  – Foundation of modern law
  – Legal advisers
Historical Roots of Law

• Justinian’s Code (529 BCE)
  – Clarification of the 1600 books of
    Roman Law
  – Justice comes from his name
  – Modern concept of justice
  – Basis of civil law and criminal
Historical Roots of Law

• Napoleonic Code (1804 CE)
  – French Civil Code (code civil)
  – Based on Justinian’s Code and
    Germanic law
Foundations of Canadian Law

• Napoleonic Code
  – Still evident in the Quebec civil
• Aboriginal Law
• British Law
  – Common law
  – Case law
British Law
• Influence by Roman conquerors (43
  -410 CE)
• Local customs/traditions
   – Trial by ordeal
       • Guilt determined by the outcome of
   – Trial by Oath Helping
       • Acquaintances swear an oath
   – Trial by Combat
       • After Norman invasion in 1066
       • Precursor to the adversarial system
   – All based on the belief in God and the
     victory of good over evil
British Law

• Feudal System
  – System of land ownership
    implemented by King William
  – Each land owner governed
    everything on his land
  – Very unfair/inconsistent
British Law

• Common Law
  – Implemented by King William’s
    grandson, Henry II
  – More fair/consistent
  – Travelling courts (assizes)
  – Evolved into case law/common law
     • Similar cases decided similarly
     • Consistency amongst judges
     • Rule of Precedent
     • Stare decisis
British Law

• Common Law Reforms
  – Jury system
     • 12 elderly men from the local
     • Judge still determined the verdict
  – Courts operated independently
     • Undermined the belief in divine right
  – Magna Carta (aka Great Charter)
    signed in 1215 by King John
     • Charter of political and civil rights
     • Recognized the Rule of Law
British Law

• Common Law Reforms
  – Habeas Corpus
    • “You must have the body”
    • Right for the accused to appear before
      a court within a reasonable amount of
Aboriginal Law

• Laws established by
  Aboriginal peoples of North
  America prior to European
• Great Binding Law
  – Constitution of the Iroquois
Foundations of Canadian Law

• Mosaic Law
  – Foundation for
• British Common Law
• French Napoleonic Code
  – Quebec Civil Code
• Aboriginal Law

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