Fundamental Justice and the Charter

Section 7 has emerged as one of the Charter’s most important and challenging provisions. This seminar provides students the opportunity to examine s. 7 in depth, from historical, theoretical, doctrinal and jurisprudential lenses. Topics to be addressed include: the historical origins of s. 7; the nature of the entitlements (life, liberty, security of the person); engagement; principles of fundamental justice (including the “instrumental rationality” principles of arbitrariness, overbreadth and gross disproportionality); s. 7 and the Criminal law (e.g. right to silence, full answer and defense); the role of s. 7 outside of the criminal law (e.g. immigration, extradition); and positive & social rights (e.g. housing, healthcare, environmental rights). Wherever possible, students will be exposed to emerging s. 7 issues, including through the examination of recent and ongoing litigation.

Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform  
Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous reality.  The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples. As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land based  and experiential activities outside of the law school; there will be a remote option for students to fulfill these requirements remotely.   The course will be framed around the concept of ‘place’ (e.g., urban  
Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, newcomer).

Comparative Law: Comparative Constitutionalism

The seminar will initiate students into what comparative constitutional law as a field of study looks like. Students will critically explore methodologies for comparison and identify constitutional borrowings, transplants and migrations. The class will interrogate the relationship between constitutionalism,  liberalism and democracy across different jurisdictions. It will compare defining structures such as separation of powers and federalism across while also studying specific constitutional rights across jurisdictions with reference to their formal status at law and their valence in society. The seminar will consider the structure and functions of constitutional courts, modes of judicial interpretation and the legitimacy of the function of judicial review. Finally, the seminar will track contemporary or emerging trends in the field. The jurisdictional contexts surveyed in the seminar will be selected both from the global ‘North’ and ‘South.’

Constitutional Litigation

This is a fun course with equal emphasis on both oral and written advocacy. Debate, questions, brainstorming and discourse are encouraged.  

Students will be involved in almost all of the steps of a constitutional case, from the initial claim, to cross-examinations, to arguing a preliminary motion and culminating in a final factum and moot before a panel of judges with students receiving both oral and written feedback throughout.

We will focus on a substantive area of constitutional law (ex., freedom of expression, equality or division of powers) as well as questions of procedure, evidence (adjudicative and legislative, privilege) and judicial notice. A key focus is on the importance of remedies as an initial consideration, not as an afterthought.  

The seminar also involves working through problems in small groups and presenting positions in class.
 
Seminar topics are designed to be in service of the final moot and factum. Topics typically 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.

Regulatory Offences

In this seminar students will learn the substantive and procedural aspects of regulatory offences, or public welfare or quasi-criminal offences as they are sometimes called. The course has a practical focus, examining matters that arise before courts, administrative tribunals, regulators and law enforcement agencies. Seminar topics will include: the classification of regulatory offences, evidence gathering techniques, the application of the Charter of Rights, and the unique nature of strict liability prosecutions, including the operation of the due diligence defence. Sentencing considerations and proposals for reform will be canvassed as well.

Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance, and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity with Indigenous voices and priorities, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous realities. The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from processes such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples.  
As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land-based and experiential activities outside of the law school; with potential options for students to fulfill these requirements remotely. The course will be framed around the concept of place’ (e.g., urban Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, relation, newcomer).

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.

Health Law

This seminar explores the dynamic and challenging field of health law, with a focus on practical issues.  The course provides a survey of the legal framework and policy considerations underlying the cornerstone areas of health law, including: consent to treatment; mental capacity and substitute decision-making; professional regulation and governance; medical malpractice; emergency management and civil protection; and health information privacy. Practical and topical issues will be explored in the areas of: elder law (issues in long-term care facilities, retirement homes); the law of medical assistance in dying in Canada; human rights in health care; hospitals and health care facilities (including physician privileges, employment issues and tensions between administrators, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders); pandemic and emergency management; reproductive health and surrogacy; and research ethics.  

Typical seminars will cover substantive law including case law and statutes, as well as policy issues and examples of applications in practice. Students are expected to actively participate via class discussion and a class presentation. Guest speakers will provide unique perspectives on particular topics.  Students will be asked to attend (in person or through electronic means) a hearing in the health law field and to reflect on that proceeding in a midterm written paper.  Through readings, class discussion and assignments, students will gain a foundation for a dedicated health law practice and an analytical framework for addressing health law issues as they arise in other practice areas.

Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform  
Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous reality.  The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples. As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land based  and experiential activities outside of the law school; there will be a remote option for students to fulfill these requirements remotely.   The course will be framed around the concept of ‘place’ (e.g., urban  
Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, newcomer).

Comparative Law: Indigenous Legal Traditions

This seminar will introduce students to non-state Indigenous legal orders. Using a transsystemic pedagogical model and a wide range of reading materials (legal cases, methodology, pedagogy, anthropology, theory) students will critically explore the theories and practices of indigenous legal traditions through analysis and substantive treatment of: indigenous sources of law; oral histories and traditions (as legal archive); legal cases and precedent; modes of reasoning and interpretation; and authority and legitimacy.