Civil law deals with disputes between private parties or negligent acts that cause harm to others. In simpler terms: civil law relates to a party suing another party and to bring this problem to a judge for a legal decision. The Civil Division of the Provincial Court is designed for ordinary people without the need for a lawyer, however it's advisable to hire one to assist you in court. A lawyer can not only sum up your case, but can also question the other party and witnesses.
You have to be eighteen in order to sue someone, and if you are under eighteen, you must find someone to accept the responsibilities for the lawsuit including costs. This person is called 'the next friend.'
The party who brings the legal action is known as the 'plantiff' or 'applicant,' while the party being sued is the 'defendant' or 'respondent.' Parties retain a lawyer—please call to find out Scott's retainer rate—to gather evidence and present the case in a court of law. The courts may dismiss a case, or if it's found to have merit, they may order the losing party to take corrective action. Often, the usual outcome is an order to pay damages—a monetary award designed to make up for the harm inflicted. Scott practices civil litigation. Please call for further information.
Wrongful Dismissal / Employment Law - Wrongful dismissal can also be called wrongful termination or wrongful discharge. These are legal terms describing a situation where an employee's contract of employment has been terminated by the employer if the termination breaches one or more of the terms of said contract. Being terminated for any of the items listed below may constitute wrongful dismissal:
1) Discrimination: an employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is of a certain race, nationality, religion, age, or sex
2) Retaliation: an employer cannot terminate employment because the employee filed a claim of discrimination
3) Refusal to commit illegal acts: an employer cannot terminate employment because the employee refuses to commit an illegal act
4) Failure to follow own termination procedures: in the employee handbook or company policy, there's often a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful dismissal
Proven wrongful dismissal will lead to two main remedies: reinstatement of the dismissed employee and/or monetary compensation.
A person may also have a claim for dismissal if they believe their employer made the working environment so unbearable that they were forced to resign. This may include situations where the employer significantly reduces the employee's salary, completely changes their job responsibilities, insists they change job locations, or prevents the employee from carrying out their duties.
This is a complex area of law, and a person should contact a lawyer before they quit their jobs.
Contract Law/ Contract Dispute Law - A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that's enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. Formation of a contract generally requires an offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual intent to be bound. Each party in a contract must have the capacity to enter the agreement. Minors, intoxicated persons, and those suffering from a mental affliction may have insufficient capacity to enter a contract.
Contract disputes occur when any party in a contract disagrees about any of the contract's terms and definitions. A contract dispute will also occur when there's considered a breach in the contract, meaning that one party failed to perform a duty or promise they agreed to do in the contract.
Civil Disputes / General Litigation - Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two or more parties that seek money damages or specific performance rather than criminal sanctions. This type of law covers disputes between individuals, corporate companies, and sometimes central government. Civil law disputes are often the cases in court that aren't about breaking a criminal law such as disputes over business debts or disputes between neighbours.
Municipal Law - Municipal law is specific to a particular city or county and the government bodies within those cities or counties. This can cover a wide range of issues such as police power, zoning, education policies, and property taxes.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is a legislative framework in which all municipalities and municipal entities across Alberta operate. The current MGA contains 18 parts and more than 650 sections. It lays the foundation for how municipalities operate, how municipal councils function, and how citizens can work within their municipalities. The MGA focusses on three things: governance, development, and taxation.
Terms to Know
Bylaws: A set of rules by which a municipality conducts its business. Bylaws tend to govern activities such as meetings, votes, record taking, and budgeting.
Land Use: Otherwise known as zoning, land use laws govern the purposes for which land may be used. Municipal Charter: A municipality's founding document.
Municipal Corporation: The legal structure assigned to a municipality which allows it to buy and sell property, and sue or be sued.
Police Power: The legal term for the ability to use police to regulate the behavior of a municipality's residents.
Ordinance: The technical term for the "law" issued by a municipality.