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Understanding Civil Law. What is civil Law?   “The law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens.”The law, which restrains a.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Civil Law. What is civil Law?   “The law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens.”The law, which restrains a."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Civil Law

2 What is civil Law?   “The law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens.”The law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens. William Blackstone

3 Law Procedures Public Law: Deals with the relationship between state (government) and individuals or organizations. Private law: deals with the disputes between persons and between individuals and companies. Although an individual can sue the government for breach of employment, suffers an injury because of the government or contract disputes with government.

4 Who is involved in Civil Actions Litigation: Legal action to resolve a dispute. Litigants: The parties involved in the civil action. Plaintiff: The party initiating the legal action Defendant: The party being sued in the legal action. Damages: Compensation for a wrong suffered. Balance of probabilities: the weight of evidence to decide whether it is the plaintiff's or the defendant’s version of the events that is more convincing or likely to be correct.

5 “I’m too young to go to be sued” Next Friend: An adult who represents a child or person under a disability who initiates a civil lawsuit. Guardian ad Litem (litigation guardian) The person appointed to act on the behalf of a minor or person under a disability who is being sued.

6 Civil Action Complex civil actions or those involving a significant amount of money are brought before a Superior Court. For less serious matters, all provinces has a small claims court.

7 Stages of a Civil Action Cause of the action Complaint or reason for suing Writ of Summons In some provinces only/ issued by the court Statement of claim The facts according to the plantiff Statement of Defence The defendants response or counterclaim Reply Examination for discovery Evidence of both sides Settlement out of court Pre- trial conference Judge meets with both sides Trial court- ruling Appeal- challenge decision

8 Setting an Action Pleadings: documents stating formal allegations by the parties regarding their claims and defences Writ of summons: a legal document that commences civil actions in some provinces. Statement of claim: a document outlining the facts supporting a civil action and the remedy desired. Remedy: the relief sought by the plaintiff.

9 Setting an Action Particulars: specific details of a claim in a civil action. Default judgment: a judgment against a party who has failed to defend a claim. Statement of defence: The response to the plaintiff’s complaint, denying the allegations in part or in whole. counterclaim: an action brought in response to the plaintiff’s claim aimed at diminishing or removing the defendant’s liability.

10 Third party Claims Third party claim: a complaint filed by the defendant claiming that another party is at fault. Liable: legally responsible for a wrongful action. Examination for discovery: examination of evidence by both sides before a civil trial. Privileged documents: records and information that can be excluded for examination by the other side in a civil action. Settle out of court: all parties agree to resolve the dispute instead of going to court. Class action lawsuits: a lawsuit initiated by a group of people over a complaint common to all.

11 Civil courts Small claims Courts: Represented by lawyer, law student or agent generally law suits up to $10,000 Least expensive, faster and informal. Judge alone based on balance of probabilities. Superior courts of the province and territories Represented by a lawyer More complex cases Larger financial compensations Judge and sometimes jury.

12 Civil courts Courts of Appeal: Highest courts in in the province (criminal and civil) Empowered to order a new trial, not overturn the decisions of a jury. Decisions a binding ( final and enforceable) in province. Panel of 3 judges Incase of a split decision, a “dissenting option” (a minority opinion that disagrees with the majority point of law.) is released to the public. Supreme Court of Canada Highest court of Appeal in Canada (criminal and civil cases) Decisions are binding throughout the country. Nine justices hear the cases. Federal Court of Canada Generally for disputes with the government.

13 Civil remedies Civil cases generally handles compensating one party with financial gain because of the damages that have occurred through situations, breach of contracts or other circumstances. Although most of these cases are easy to determine, personal injury can have a much more complicated outcome. In these cases the courts may award special damages and general damages.

14 Damages General damages: Pecuniary damages are monetary compensation for losses that can be calculated. Non- pecuniary damages are compensations for losses that do not involve an actual loss of money and are difficulty to quantify. Aggravated damages: Compensation for intangible losses such as humiliation and distress. Special damages: compensation for out of pocket expenses. (Medication, ambulance, repairs and therapy)

15 Damages Punitive damages: damages imposed to punish the defendant for reprehensible or malicious conduct. Nominal damages: minimal compensation to acknowledge a moral victory. Specific performance: a Court order requiring someone to fulfill the terms of a contract. Injunctions: a court order requiring or prohibiting and action

16 Test your knowledge What kinds of compensation could be awarded for the following cases: Case 1: Civil suit against contractor who installed cheaper roof shingles. Case 2: Car Accident where the plaintiff suffered a broken leg and cannot work at his job for 6 weeks. He works as a mechanic. Case 3: The plaintiff was shopping at a store. On the way out she was attacked by a security guard who had though that she had stolen items and was running away from the store. She fell and broke her collarbone. She was kept until police arrived two hours later. During which she missed an important job interview.

17 Now that the trial is over, where is my money? The bad news is that after the trial the court does not simply pass over a check. The check must come from the defendant, who is called the judgment debtor. Examination of the judgment debtor: if he/she cannot pay, his assets will be examined in order to make the payments. Garnishment: a court order requiring a third party to pay the plaintiff money owed to the defendant. Execution or seizure: The debtor’s assets can be seized by the sheriff, then sold to pay the defendant.

18 Alternative sources of Compensation Motor vehicle insurance: it is possible to collect compensation fro the defendant’s insurer. No-Fault insurance: a no fault insurance system is available to Canadians in order to provide funds without evidence of fault. Worker’s compensation: Workers who are injured on the job have another source of compensation through their Worker’s Compensation Fund. Criminal Injuries Compensation: these funds have been set up to aid in damages in the cases where the defendant has no assets. There is a limited amount of many that can be awarded.

19 Alternative Dispute Resolutions There are many different ways to resolve disputes that should be considered before going to court. Negotiation: a process whereby both parties communicate to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation: a process in which a neutral third party intervenes to bring opposing parties to an agreement. Arbitration: a process in which a neutral third party hears both sides of the dispute and makes a binding decision.

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