Public law and private law

Law can be divided into public and private law. Public law deals with matters that affect society as a whole. It includes criminal, constitutional and administrative law. Public laws set the rules for the relationship between the individual and society and for the roles of different levels of government. For example, if someone breaks a criminal law, it is seen as a wrong against society as a whole.

Private or civil law deals with the relationships between individuals. Civil laws set the rules for contracts, property ownership, the rights and obligations of family members, damage to someone or to their property caused by others, and so on.

Courts and Legal Representation

The basic role of courts in Canada is to help people resolve disputes fairly and lawfully. If you need help in a Canadian court, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. You should look for a lawyer who practices the type of law related to your situation. For example, if you need help with an immigration matter, you need a lawyer who practices immigration law.

Justice Ontario

If you have any questions about Ontario’s legal system, such as how to find a lawyer or your rights, Justice Ontario can help. Justice Ontario can be reached at 1-866-252-0104 (in over 170 different languages) or you can visit them online: