Why Paralegal and Police Textbooks Need a Canadian Perspective

The internet has had a profound effect on the textbook industry. Many publishers now offer online courses and learning material in addition to ink-and-paper books. The books themselves often take the form of ebooks, which students appreciate for being lighter on their wallets (and backpacks). It’s also allowed smaller publishers to enter the sphere, offering niche textbooks with a Canadian perspective.

Students in Canada benefit from Canadian textbooks, especially in areas like police foundations and paralegal studies. The Canadian legal system different from that of other Commonwealth nations, and working in the law – either in law enforcement or as a legal representative – requires knowledge of the unique characteristics of Canadian society, including the history of injustice in our country.

These are just some of the reasons why educators should choose Canadian police foundation and paralegal textbooks.

Canadian History

Canada is just 150 years old, and its constitution is under 50. Canada’s legal system is unique among Commonwealth countries, incorporating both British common law tradition and French civil law. Britain was the main influence on the Canadian system, but recent decisions have looked to precedent set by the United States and other nations as well. It’s important for police and DDE’s paralegal textbooks to explain how these origins impact the courts today.

Canadian Law

There are huge differences between the Canadian and American legal systems. To start, criminal law is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government, with single Criminal Code setting the law in all provinces and territories. But many other areas of law, like traffic, the environment, and human rights, are different across the country.

There are also many significant differences in how the courts operate. For example, many American paralegal textbooks refer to jury trials, which are rare in Canada, and are outside the scope of paralegal practice.

Canadian Society

People often say we’re becoming more and more like our neighbours to the south. While this may be true, Canadian society is still vastly different from that of the United States, and this has a huge impact on our approach to policing. One major difference, of course, is the absence of gun culture and less availability of guns in Canada. Canadian and American police also undergo different training, with American police focusing more on protocol and Canadian police on problem-solving.

First Nations Issues

It’s impossible to overlook how the legal system is inextricably tied to Indigenous issues in Canada. First nations communities are disproportionately represented in the Canadian criminal justice system, and they can face difficulty accessing justice in other areas of the courts.

It’s important that paralegals know the legal issues specific to representing Aboriginal clients, such as how this background can impact sentencing. Police foundation textbooks must address challenges Indigenous people face in the system, including the history of injustices towards these communities and systemic racism in law enforcement agencies.

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