chapter  3
51 Pages

The Organization of Law

BySteven Vago, Adie Nelson, Veronica Nelson, Steven E. Barkan

This chapter examines the social organization of legal systems in the context of the judicial, legislative, administrative, and enforcement agencies that carry out the official business of law. It distinguishes between "private", "public-initiated", and "public defendant" disputes. The chapter describes the structure of Canada's court system. It also describes the flow of litigation in civil and criminal cases. The chapter then discusses the conflict management and integrative functions of legislatures. It then describes the organization of law enforcement agencies, identify three styles of police work, and discusses why police discretion can be problematic. The chapter explains the roles of legislators and lobbyists in the legislative process. Canada's courts can be distinguished into four basic levels. They are: provincial/territorial courts; provincial/territorial superior courts and the Federal Court; provincial/territorial courts of appeal and the Federal Court of Appeal; and the Supreme Court of Canada. Courts, as dispute-processing institutions, are composed of four distinct groups of participants: litigants, lawyers, judges, and juries.