Justice system

The Constitution establishes the various powers of government and divides them between the federal and provincial governments. The Constitution also establishes limits on the powers of government and establishes Canadians' fundamental rights and freedoms. The federal government is responsible for enacting and administering criminal law, enacting divorce law, and the appointment of superior court judges. The federal government is also responsible for Aboriginals and lands reserved for Aboriginals. The provincial government is responsible for the administration or management of criminal justice within the province, for the appointment of provincial court judges and justices of the peace, and for property and civil law within the province. Métis people have a unique relationship with the provincial government.

See also:
Education & learning
Law & legislation

Major participants in the justice system:

Justice Process Diagrams
Provincial Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Provincial Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security
Federal Minister of Justice & Attorney General
Federal Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness
Judges
Police
Lawyers
Legal Aid
Crown Prosecutors
Correctional Services
Non-Government Organizations
Victims
The Public
Publications


Justice Process Diagrams

Civil claims justice process
Family law justice process
Court system in Alberta
Criminal justice process for adults
Criminal justice process for youth

Provincial Minister of Justice and Attorney General

In Alberta, the provincial Minister of Justice is the senior law officer of the Crown. The minister is responsible for legal proceedings under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Youth Criminal Justice Act (formerly the Young Offenders Act) and provincial laws. The minister does not become involved in civil matters unless the government is a party to the action.

See also:

Alberta Minister of Justice and Attorney General role and responsibilities

Provincial Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security

In Alberta, the provincial Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security ensures safe communities. Under the Police Act, the minister must maintain adequate and effective policing services. The provincial correctional service is a division of Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security and is responsible for all adult offenders who receive sentences of less than two years and young offenders sentenced under provincial and federal youth justice legislation. The ministry also promotes crime prevention activities and provides services to victims of crime.

See also:

Alberta Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security role and responsibilities

Federal Minister of Justice & Attorney General

In Alberta, the federal Minister of Justice is responsible for criminal proceedings under federal laws, other than the Criminal Code of Canada, and for civil proceedings under federal laws.

Federal Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Alberta contracts with the federal Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to provide an RCMP provincial police service and some municipal police services. Alberta, along with Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, provides for the establishment and funding of First Nations police services through tripartite policing agreements. The federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is also responsible for offenders who receive prison sentences of two years or more. The federal National Parole Board has jurisdiction to grant parole for all offenders sentenced to a federal penitentiary and offenders held in Alberta provincial jails.

See also:

Federal Ministry of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness roles and responsibilities

Judges

There are three branches of government - the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judiciary. The judiciary is an independent branch of government which presides over the courts. Judges interpret legislation, develop the common law, determine the validity of laws, determine the facts and render decisions in a fair and impartial manner, thereby ensuring the rule of law - the cornerstone of a free and democratic society.

See also:

Chart of Courts in Alberta

Police

In Alberta, policing is provided by the provincial police service, municipal police services and First Nations police services. Alberta are also responsible for federal policing. Police services are responsible for protecting life and property, preventing and detecting crime, keeping the peace, and enforcing laws within their jurisdiction. They fulfill these duties through law enforcement and a variety of community services, including: crime prevention, education programs, assisting in locating missing persons, dealing with lost property, traffic control, victim assistance and accident investigation. In addition to the uniformed members of the various police services, municipal police services and the also have resources dedicated specifically to serious crime, drug enforcement, intelligence gathering, organized crime and forensic work. These dedicated resources support and enhance the level of service the police provide to the communities they serve.

In Alberta, municipal and First Nations police services have embraced the style of community-based policing. Community-based policing addresses community concerns by allowing community input into policing decisions. It puts police officers in a more visible role, as close to the community as possible.

See also:

Policing

Lawyers

A lawyer may represent a person in a civil matter or act as defence counsel or prosecutor in a criminal matter. Persons who are arrested or detained have a constitutional right to speak to a lawyer. Lawyers are regulated by the Law Society of Alberta. Lawyers have a duty to ensure that all legal issues bearing on a case are fully explored and properly adjudicated even for those persons who may appear guilty.

See also:

Defence counsel roles and responsibilities

The Law Society of Alberta roles and responsibilities

The legal community roles and responsibilities

Legal Aid

Legal Aid Alberta provides lawyers to persons who cannot afford to pay for them from their own resources. Legal Aid makes assistance available free of charge to all persons who request it in most criminal courts of first appearance. For other legal aid, a person must be financially eligible and have the type of legal problem that Legal Aid Alberta is allowed to cover. Persons who receive legal aid are required to repay unless it would cause severe hardship. In addition, persons may be able to obtain other forms of assistance or information from other organizations such as Student Legal Services or Aboriginal Courtworkers.

See also:

Legal aid roles and responsibilities

The legal community roles and responsibilities

Crown Prosecutors

Alberta Justice lawyers employed as Crown prosecutors are responsible for prosecutions under some federal statutes, such as the Criminal Code of Canada, and under provincial statutes. In a typical case, the prosecutor’s responsibilities include determining appropriate charges, discussions with defence counsel, preparing witnesses for court, examination and cross-examination of witnesses and presenting arguments respecting conviction and sentence.

The prosecutor’s decisions are governed by the law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legal tradition, Alberta Justice policy and the Law Society of Alberta's Code of Conduct which applies to all Alberta lawyers.

See also:

Prosecutors' roles and responsibilities

The legal community roles and responsibilities

Correctional Services

Correctional services are provided by both the federal and provincial governments. Adult offenders who are sentenced to jail for less than two years or who receive community sentences such as fines or probation are under provincial jurisdiction. Adult offenders who receive prison sentences of two years or more are the responsibility of the federal government. The provincial correctional service administers all young offender sentences.

See also:

Probation and Conditional Sentence Supervision

Adult Centre Operations

Young Offenders

Correctional and Remand Centres

Extrajudicial Sanctions Program (young offender)

Alternative Measures Program (adult offender)

Non-Government Organizations

Non-government organizations provide a variety of services and activities in the community and at various stages of the justice system. They are governed by volunteer boards of directors and make extensive use of volunteers to deliver programs. Some may also engage in public education activities or speak out on social policy issues that relate to developing safe communities.

See also:

Non-government organizations roles and responsibilities

Victims

Victims are persons who have suffered a loss or injury as a result of the wrongful act of another person.

See also:

Victim Services

The Public

All members of the public have an interest in and are affected by the justice system. The public includes accused persons, witnesses, family or friends of victims or the accused, parties in a civil dispute and the community at large.

 Publications

 

 Related Sites