Canadian Legal Systems


Canadian Legal Systems


Canada, law, legal systems, common law, civil law, aboriginal legal systems, oral traditions


This section examines the legal systems that exist in Canada with a particular view to exploring the intersection of these systems with Canadian senses of identity.

Canada has three primary legal traditions: indigenous law, civil law, and common law. Indigenous law is a legal system based on the values of indigenous persons and includes the use of oral traditions in a central way. Common law is a legal system which derives law from judicial precedent. Civil law, in contrast, adjudicates civil matters and is based solely on codified statute.

In this section, we emphasize the interactions and conflicts among Canadian legal systems, as well as the result of said conflict in the justice system. Finally, we examine recommendations to improve congruence among the systems especially vis-à-vis indigenous law.


Samantha Davis
Xavier Monaghan
Xhesika Resuli
Dr. Theresa Miedema, ed.







Collection Items

Team photo: Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia
Thinking About Indigenous Legal Orders
Information brochure: TTC Justice Council & Peacemaker Court
Administration of Justice Agreement Poster
Infographic -- Historical Treaties and Treaty First Nations in Canada
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
Excerpts from Connolly v. Woolrich et al. (1867), 17 R.J.R.Q. 75
Report: Legal Dualism and Bilingual Bisystemism: Principles and Applications
Image: Bijuralism: A Timeline
Sections 25 and 35 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Royal Proclamation, 1763
Image: Outline of the Canadian Court System

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