Constitutional Litigation

This seminar considers the adjudication process in constitutional litigation.  We will cover questions of procedure, evidence (adjudicative and legislative) and judicial notice. A key focus is on the importance of remedies as an initial consideration, not as an afterthought.  Debate, questions, banter and discourse are encouraged.

The seminar involve working through problems in small groups and presenting positions in class. Students will participate in the preparation of, and advocacy in, a constitutional case.  A final factum and moot before a panel of three judges will complete the course with students receiving both oral and written feedback.
 
Seminar topics may include: the role of the courts in constitutional litigation; commencing a constitutional case; drafting pleadings; government action under s.32 of the Charter; standing; selecting the appropriate court and procedure; mootness, interventions; role of the Attorney General; evidence in constitutional cases, proving constitutional facts, the role of experts and drafting effective affidavits, examination of government witnesses, presentation and assessment of social science data in the adversarial system; drafting constitutional arguments and presenting them effectively; oral advocacy; the importance of remedies for constitutional infringements; litigation strategies for public interest groups and case studies.

Legal Values: Law in the Time of Catastrophe

COVID-19 is the first truly global pandemic of the 21st century. Governments, climate scientists, epidemiologists, and public health researchers have warned that the viral outbreak will affect the world in myriad unforeseen ways and similar outbreaks are likely to recur. All the while that we are overwhelmed by this historical malady, we must not forget the increasing frequency and intensity with which Canada and countries around the world have been struck by forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, food scarcity, and historic refugee flows out of conflict and disaster-ridden landscapes. These events are likely to worsen in the coming decades.

Climate change and disasters as umbrella categories are fundamentally problems of governance. But environmental law courses traditionally struggle to make room for them. This course aims to introduce upper year law students to the relationship between law and a range of future-facing global environmental crises that are often overlooked in law school curricula. The readings are designed to: (i) bring law students up to date on social science and humanities research surrounding disasters; and (ii) critically examine a variety of international legal regimes that currently attend to specific kinds of disasters such as pandemics and food scarcity.

As possible, we will pause to examine how these issues are being addressed within Canada, both in terms of the Canadian constitutional framework as well as the concerns of indigenous communities. Like any survey, this course is designed to introduce students to a wide swathe of knowledge about a new subject. As such, there are limits to how deeply we can explore the subject-matter for each week. However, students are encouraged to choose research projects that will allow them to study any of the areas explored in the course, or other related areas, in greater depth.

The seminar will prepare students to serve as law and policy experts on significant national and international environmental concerns that are going to be in high demand in the years to come. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

·understand the socio-scientific, political, and historical context of climate change and other ‘catastrophes’ broadly stated;
·apply these insights and techniques to evaluate the quality and impact of international (and domestic) legal regimes;
·critically analyze the content of official statements, news reports, and popular narratives about disasters and emergency regulation

Sample list of topics (subject to change)
·        Climate, climate change, and disasters (as global, legal and non-legal contexts)
·        Famine and food security
·        Pandemics and global public health
·        Armed conflict and environmental Degradation
·        Small islands and sea level rise
·        Climate refugees and internally displaced persons

Constitutional Litigation

In this seminar, students explore the adjudication process in constitutional litigation, consider questions of procedure, proof and remedies and discuss effective preparation of and advocacy in constitutional cases.

Seminar topics will include: the role of the courts in constitutional litigation; commencing a constitutional case, drafting pleadings, government action under s.32 of the Charter, standing, crown defendants, choice of venue, remedies, evidence in constitutional cases, the role of experts and drafting effective affidavits, discovery of governments, and interlocutory relief.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This course will provide a critical survey of state law as it relates to Indigenous peoples in Canada. Topics will include: the historical context and constitutional framework; Aboriginal rights and title; self-government; treaties and treaty rights; the Indian Act; Inuit rights; Métis rights; and the authority and obligations of the federal and provincial governments.

This course fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments. It is also recommended for students who plan to take an advanced seminar on Indigenous Peoples and the Law.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This course will provide a critical survey of state law as it relates to Indigenous peoples and lands in what is now known as Canada.

Topics will include but are not limited to: historical context and constitutional framework; Indigenous law and constitutionalism; Aboriginal rights and title; self-government; treaties and treaty rights; the Indian Act; the obligations of the federal and provincial governments; and Indigenous identity.

This course fulfills the prerequisite requirement for the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments.

Lectures will be recorded.

Statutory Interpretation

This course will: (a) introduce students to statutory language; and (b) give students the opportunity to develop practical skills in the interpretation and application of statutory provisions. Various topics will be discussed, including:
 
1.        Judicial approaches to statutory interpretation;
2.        Interpretive Theory;
3.        The nature of “legislative intent”;
4.        Maxims and Rules of Interpretation, both common law and statutory;
5.        Interpretive Presumptions;
6.        Judicial notice;
7.        Practical considerations in legislative drafting; and
7.        Evidence of legislative intent.
 
The overall emphasis is on the language of the law and the practical application of statutory language and concepts.

Administrative Law

This course is an introduction to the body of law that governs administrative decision-making. The administrative branch of government implements legislative policy and delivers government services in a variety of contexts including immigration, human rights, communications, labour relations, natural resources, business activities, freedom of information, professional regulation and others. As a result, this course is foundational to the study of any particular administrative or regulatory regime. The course will explore judicial oversight of administrative decision-makers through the doctrines of procedural fairness (how administrative decisions are made, the rights of individuals to participate in decisions affecting them, and impartiality and independence of decision-makers), substantive review (the scope and standards employed by courts to review the merits of administrative decisions), and remedies. The course also examines the policy concerns that inform the doctrinal rules and principles, and theoretical themes around the relationship between the courts and other branches of government.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This substantive law course provides a critical survey of state law as it relates to Indigenous peoples and lands in what is now known as Canada. Topics include but are not limited to: Indigenous sources of law; international law; Indigenous women, gender and law; historical context and constitutional framework re. Indigenous Peoples; Aboriginal title and doctrine of discovery; treaties; resource rights, extinguishment and consultation; the Indian Act and identity; allyship. The class is taught through the use of a variety of techniques, including class exercises, videos, and collaborative problem-solving. This course fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This substantive law course explores Indigenous legal orders – mainly nêhiyaw (Cree) and Anishinaabe laws – through the lens of Indigenous worldview(s), and provides a critical survey of state (mainly Canadian) law. This course is structured primarily on Indigenous methodologies and pedagogies, and includes both a mid-term evaluation and an advocacy component. Topics include but are not limited to: Indigenous sources of law; international law; Indigenous women, gender and law; historical context and constitutional framework re. Indigenous Peoples; Aboriginal title and doctrine of discovery; treaties; resource rights, extinguishment and consultation. This course fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments. While online, this course will consist of weekly lectures along with weekly small group sessions based on the course readings.

Administrative Law

Administrative law is the branch of public law that governs decision-making by the tribunals, boards and agencies that implement government policy and deliver public programs and services. The actions of these decision-makers are a critical component of contemporary state regulation in diverse contexts including the environment, taxation, immigration, labour relations and employment, human rights, education, land-use and planning, the regulation of business activities, and income security. As a result, this course aims to provide an important foundation for understanding any of these specific administrative or regulatory regimes, and others. The course will also explore judicial oversight of administrative decision-makers through the doctrines of procedural fairness (how administrative decisions are made, the rights of individuals to participate in decisions affecting them, and impartiality and independence of decision- makers), substantive review (the scope and standards employed by courts to review the merits of administrative decisions), and remedies. The course also examines the changing nature and purposes of the administrative state, the role of courts in relation to that of statutory decision-makers, and the impact of the Charter and human rights norms on government decision-making.

 Note: The instructor of this course/ seminar has indicated a preference or willingness to conduct optional in-person meetings for students. All in-person meetings will be optional for students until the general return to in-person instruction that is expected for the winter 2022 term. Any in-person meetings in the fall 2021 term that cover examinable course content will be accompanied by a remote participation option, such as a separate remote class, live dual delivery, and/ or a recording of the class, at the instructor’s discretion. More information will follow from the instructor after students have enrolled; please also note that there is no guarantee of in-person instruction in any course or seminar.