Actus Reus
a Latin term meaning "guilty act". This is the actual, conscious, physical act of committing a crime.

Age of majority
the age at which a person can undertake legal obligations (in Alberta, 18).

as a criminal offense, the deliberate application of force to another or the threat to apply it; as a tort, the threat of applying force to another.

money held to guarantee that an accused will appear at a later hearing.

Break and enter
to enter, with the intention of committing an indictable offense, premises owned by another, without permission, by breaking or opening anything closed.

written laws passed by municipal governments.

the legal ability to enter into a valid contract.

Civil law
the branch of law that governs the relations between individuals.

Civil rights
rights guaranteed citizens of a country; in Canada, rights guaranteed by the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Common law
the body of law that gradually developed in courts in the English speaking world based on judges' decisions.

a document stating the fundamental rules according to which a country is governed and other laws are made.

Contract law
law dealing with situations in which two or more parties make a contract with each other and one side, it is claimed, fails to live up to its obligations to the other.

Court of Appeal
the highest level court in Alberta, as its name suggests, this is an appeal court only. Original trials never take place in this court.

Court of Queen's Bench
the second level of courts in Alberta.

an act forbidden by law and for which the government has the power to punish.

Criminal law
the branch of law that sets out certain acts as crimes and punishes those acts.

money awarded by a court, to a plaintiff, in a civil suit to compensate for a wrong suffered.

the party against whom a legal action is brought in civil court or the party charged in a criminal case.

the practice of treating some people differently from others because of prejudice toward a group to which they belong.

Extra Judicial Sanctions Programs
programs whereby non-violent, first time young offenders can admit to having committed a crime and then do something to compensate for it, rather than go to court.

Federal Court of Canada
a specialized court dealing with cases concerning the federal government, such as taxation problems; disputes between the provinces; and cases involving trademarks, patents, and copyright issues.

the intentional deception of someone so that the person sustains a loss.

House Arrest
a court order requiring a person to stay at home during a set period of time.

Human Rights
rights that protect people from discrimination from others in certain areas of life.

Indictable Offense
a serious criminal offense involving more complex trial procedures.

a law or laws that have been passed by a governing body like Alberta's Legislative Assembly or the Parliament of Canada.

Mens Rea
latin term meaning "guilty mind". This is the intent to commit a crime.

anyone under the age of majority.

damage to another person's property or interference with another person's use of his or her property.

if you injure someone because of your careless behaviour - there is no intent to harm.

Open Custody
a criminal sentence that involves comparatively light supervision and some access to the community.

the party bringing a legal action against another party in civil court.

a previous court decision that lower courts must follow when making decisions in similar cases.

a criminal sentence that gives an offender some degree of freedom (rather than a prison term) but that requires the person convicted to be supervised and to meet certain conditions for a stipulated period of time.

Provincial Court
this court is at the bottom level of Alberta's court system called "a court of first instance", because it is here that cases are first heard.

a power or privilege granted by the law.

theft accompanied by force or threats.

a specific law or act passed by a governing body like Alberta's Legislative Assembly or the Parliament of Canada.

Supreme Court of Canada:
the highest court in Canada.

taking another's property without consent knowing that it belongs to someone else.

a civil wrong other than a breach of contract.

Tort Law
law that deals with a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract.