German book on Canadian law / Einführung in das kanadische Recht

Stephan Handschug, Einführung in das kanadische Recht (ISBN 3 406 50826 X), has just appeared in C.H.Beck Verlag. I haven’t read it but have skimmed it. This is what I have noticed so far:

Chapters on fundamentals, the constitution, the courts, the Quebec legal system, legal training, lawyers / judges, and new developments.

This material covers 108 pages. There are also over 30 pages of constitutional documents, a chronological table, and other tables (distribution of seats in parliament, and prime ministers). There seems a slight bias towards political issues. No substantive law. One might contrast this with Mathias Reimann’s Einführung in das US-amerikanische Privatrecht (ISBN 3 406 41670 5), which is much fuller and is 340 pages in length – but thin paper, whereas this Canadian law book is printed on thickish paper.

I had the impression some of the brief materials on common law, equity and the system of precedent were both too brief to be useful and also covered familiar ground, but then, perhaps someone would read this book with no knowledge of the common law and would need an introduction. And there is reference to the royal prerogative and parliamentary sovereignty, which might not be familiar to those who have concentrated on US law.

At a glance, or two glances, I did not see anything on the distinction between federal law and the law of the provinces. Presumably the situation is like that in the United States, where each state has its own criminal and civil law, unlike that in Germany – after all, Quebec has its own law. This may well be in the long and obviously important chapter on the (1982) constitution – I remember Canada being late to get a constitution, so obviously one must buckle down and read this. I was excited to read about the Nunavut territory, which has existed only since April 1st 1999, has an area of 1,994,000 km² and only 26,750 inhabitants.

Note an Overview of Sources of Canadian Law on the Web, and other materials, at

5 thoughts on “German book on Canadian law / Einführung in das kanadische Recht

  1. Thanks for the link. Pity about no substantive law.

    Last summer at the FIT/ITF – International Translators’ and Interpreters’ Federation Congress – in Vancouver, B.C., I met up with an accountant and insolvency practitioner from my Eng. schooldays who told me how Canadian insolvency terms had recently changed – in the Eng.-speaking states, but with little UK/US input. Yet again, a terminological minefield if, anti-Am./Can. prof. indemnity isurance permitting, you’re translating for Can. clients.

  2. I’ve had a number of translations to do for Canada, and the client has been German, but the reader Canadian. I believe German professional indemnity insurance doesn’t extend as far as some British – such as the ITI one, which I am tempted to change to.

  3. I’m afraid my ITI prof. indemnity policy doesn’t extend to the litigation trigger-happy Continent of North Am., either. In fact, the written UK and Europe policy exclusion is v. clear. I asked the ins. agents months ago for a quote for an extension to the US and Can., but am not holding my breath.

  4. Well, the scheme they’re flogging at the moment does (Beazley). It is worldwide but has an excess of £1,000 for claims brought under North American jurisdiction or by North American members. The problem is that it has an excess of £500 for all overseas members outside North America. But still, if the premium’s OK, why not? The only time one would desperately need it would be for higher sums.

  5. I’ve obviously got the wrong ITI policy, after being shunted from pillar to post. The North Am. excess would effectively more than double my premium though, in perspective, it’s not much to pay for a potential mega-negligence claim. Some US professionals, I hear, have just stopped insuring because the prof. indemnity premiums are too high. Some UK accountants post-Enron are seeing even more premium hikes.

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