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Canadian Legal Systems

This part of the Canadian Law and Canadian Identity exhibit examines Canada’s three legal traditions: indigenous law, civil law, and common law. Indigenous law is a legal system based on the values of Indigenous persons and emphasizes the use of oral traditions. 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. This digital artefact examines the Canadian pluralist legal system and its relationship to the Canadian identity. In approaching this task, it defines and explores the emergence of each legal tradition and why its historical roots are significant. Next it explores the interactions and conflicts between the systems as well as the result of said conflict in the justice system. Finally, it examines recommendations to improve congruence between the systems especially vis-à- vis indigenous law.