L.C. Green is a university professor of political science and an
honorary professor of law at the University of Alberta.
Since there is a presumption in Canadian as in most other systems of law that the citizenry knows the law, one can only welcome a book, written in non-technical language for the layman, that purports to set out in straightforward language what the law means and what the citizens’s rights under it are.
Mr. Crystal’s short monograph, which in fact is little more than a lengthy pamphlet, explains such things as the purpose and nature of criminal law; powers of arrest and of search (in this connection one might regret the fact that Mr. Crystal is so “actual” — that he in no way criticises the case with which the police resort to strip searches); the constituents of a crime, emphasising the importance of matching the act with the intention — a matter which may be disrupted in the field of the law against race hatred if current proposals for reform are carried through; the drug laws; and, in a most delectable way, the criminal court system and the processes of sentencing, with a short explanation of why the law punishes offenders. Unfortunately, the chapter on young lawbreakers has been rendered obsolete with the passage of the Young Offenders Act that has now come into force.
Too often young people are abysmally unaware of the law of their country and what their duties and rights under it are. In Mr. Crystal’s brief exposition of the Criminal Law we have an admirable example of the type of publication that could be recommended for use in schools. It is far more useful than the usual type of parti-pris publication that they too frequently rely upon, and students will find the glossary of terms particularly useful.