About Canada’s System of Justice

The law affects nearly every aspect of our lives every day. On the one hand, we have laws to deal with crimes such as robbery or murder and other threats and challenges to society. On the other hand, laws regulate common activities such as driving a car, renting an apartment, getting a job or getting married. Understanding the law, and the ideas and principles behind it, is every Canadian's business.

Laws are often thought of as commands, but they are more than that. A law balances individual rights with the obligations that people share as members of society. For example, when a law gives a person a legal right to drive, it may also restrict that right with traffic laws, and make it a duty for her or him to know how to drive.

Our legal system functions well when people both understand their legal rights and live up to their legal responsibilities. In fact, the basis of much of our law is common sense. But before we can create new laws or change old ones, we need to understand the basic principles of our legal heritage.

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