The focus of this blog is to update officers of recent case law and changes and amendments to criminal law, plus provide academic news regarding the Atlantic Police Academy. In addition, issues in law of importance to the cadets of the Atlantic Police Academy will be covered as the need arises. The blog is edited and maintained by Inspector Curtis Fudge, the Criminal Law, Provincial Statutes and Legislation, and the Criminal Investigation Learning Manager of the Atlantic Police Academy.
The articles contained on this site are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be construed as legal or other professional advice. The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily the opinions of the Atlantic Police Academy. APA newsLAW welcomes your comments or contributions to this blog.
To those not quite familiar with case law, or the doctrine of precedent or of stare decisis, I will attempt to explain how it works: in the Provincial Court, any rulings made on the law bind only the parties who are before that Court in the matter being tried. Those rulings may have a persuasive effect in other cases in other Courts, but their ability to influence other Courts is a function solely of the soundness of the reasoning employed in making the ruling. If another judge follows the reasoning of a ruling made in a Provincial Court, it is because the reasoning behind the ruling was found to be compelling, and not because the judge was required by law to follow it. Professor Gerald L. Gall, The Canadian Legal System, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Carswell Legal Publications, 1983) at 220, put it this way:
Basically, under the doctrine of stare decisis, the decision of a higher court within the same provincial jurisdiction acts as binding authority on a lower court within that same jurisdiction. The decision of a court of another jurisdiction only acts as persuasive authority. The degree of persuasiveness is dependent upon various factors, including, first, the nature of the other jurisdiction. Second, the degree of persuasiveness is dependent upon the level of court which decided the precedent case in the other jurisdiction. Other factors include the date of the precedent case, on the assumption that the more recent the case, the more reliable it will be as authority for a given proposition, although this is not necessarily so. And on some occasions, the judge’s reputation may affect the degree of persuasiveness of the authority.
Of course, all Canadian courts are bound to follow a precedent of the Supreme Court of Canada.