Sources of Law

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  1. Bill
    What a statute is called when it is introduced in a legislature. If is passes, it is then called an Act.
  2. Cabinet Submission
    A document used to circulate a policy proposal for comment, or other government action, among the various ministries of the government. It then goes, eventually, to Cabinet, where cabinet ministries decide how to deal with the matter.
  3. Committee of the Whole House
    While a bill is normally scrutinized by a standing committee of the legislature that deals with the subject matter covered by the bill, a bill may be considered by a committee consisting of all of the members of the legislature for the clause-by-clause discussion usually done in standing committee.
  4. Gazette
    The name of a publication issued by governments in Canada on a regular basis, usually weekly, containing official notices and announcements, and in which regulations made under the authority of a statute are first published. A regulation usually takes effect at publication; consequently, the gazetting of a regulation is an important step in its becoming enforceable.
  5. Judgment or Order
    A command from the court that must be followed.
  6. Law Reports
    Cases in which judges give reasons for judgment explaining a legal decision are gathered up and published in case reporting books called law reports. Law reports may be officially published by the government, law societies, or private publishers. They are no longer necessarily only in book form, as many law report series are available from online computer services and on CD-ROM.
  7. Legislative Drafting Office
    Most legislative bodies have a group of lawyers who are specialists in the art of drafting statutes. This office does not determine the content of legislation but does determine the form that legislation takes.
  8. Management Board of Cabinet
    A cabinet committee that acts as a gate keeper, determining which matters come before cabinet.
  9. Persuasive
    With respect to Case law, a case decided by a respected judge from another jurisdiction, which is not binding on the court in the case at bar, is said to be persuasive if it otherwise influences the court.
  10. Primary Legislation
    Statutes are primary legislation; the term is used to distinguish statutes from regulations passed under the authority of statutes. Regulations are sometimes referred to as subordinate legislation.
  11. Private BillA
    A bill usually passed at the request of a specific person and that affects a particular person or body. For ex. Municipalities often ask to have a private bill passed in order to amend that municipality's powers.
  12. Private Member's Bill
    A bill introduced by an individual MP or legislator that is not part of the government's legislative program. As the government controls the agenda of a legislature in order to get government bills passed, there is rarely time to consider private member's bills, and these usually do not come to a final vote.
  13. Proclaim in Force
    A bill does not come into force automatically when it is passed; it must first be proclaimed in force. This may be on a specific date, or when the government is ready, or upon passage of the bill, if the bill so provides.
  14. Public Bill
    A bill that affects the general law of the jurisdiction and concerns matters of a general or public nature.
  15. Repatriate
    One repatriates something when one recovers its nationality. Canada repatriated its Constitution when it recovered from the United Kingdom the right as a nation to amend its own constitution.
  16. Reported Reasons for Decision
    A judge's written reasons for making a judgment or an order.
  17. Retroactive
    A legal rule that takes effect in the law period before the rule was created. Law is not supposed to be retroactive, and it is presumed that a law, when passed, takes effect only from and after the time of its passage.
  18. Revised Statutes
    In Canada, the federal government and the provinces consolidate and revise all statutes at regular intervals, deleting parts that have been repealed, and adding amendments since the date of the last revision.
  19. Second Reading
    A stage of the process that results in a bill becoming a law. At this stage, the bill is debated in the legislature at length, the basic principles are discussed, and the bill is defended by the minister responsible for it. A vote to approve at this stage is a vote of approval in principle.
  20. Subordinate Legislation
    A law made by a body subordinate to the Parliament under the authority of a parliamentary statute.
  21. Third Reading
    When the bill comes before the legislature after the committee stage has been completed, it receives its third and final reading and is voted on in its third reading form.
  22. Ultra Vires
    A latin maxim that describes action that is unlawful because there is no authority to take that action; in a federal system, the maxim describes a statute passed by a legislative body that had no authority to pass the statute. The statue is, therefore, invalid and unlawful.
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Sources of Law
Sources of Law
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