Entertainment & Sports Law

This seminar course comprises two components:
1. Entertainment Law
The entertainment law portion of the seminar will focus on matters of essential concern to persons in the entertainment industry and their legal advisors. Upstream, we will examine chain-of-title to underlying rights, acquisition of primary, format and subsidiary rights, and perfecting rights from technical and creative personnel, including copyright and other legal considerations. A discussion of personal service contracts will include an examination of the basic terms and types of agreements between service providers and their engagers. Downstream, we will examine distribution and other exploitation of entertainment properties, and the use of incentives as an instrument of government policy in the development of both an indigenous and non-indigenous entertainment sector in Canada.   We will also review business modelling, financing and related legal considerations in film and television, music recordation and publishing, the literary arts, and in theatre and live performance, including tax implications, international treaties, government regulation and the sources and vehicles of financing.

2. Sports Law
In the sports law portion of the seminar, we will examine the legal relationship between the athlete and his or her engager, including the concept of the standard player contract and individual and collective bargaining/negotiation versus traditional legal concepts of conduct that is otherwise anti-competitive or in restraint of trade.  We will also consider the phenomenon of the “problem athlete”, including the imposition of discipline both at the team employer and league level, and related judicial review.  Lastly, we will examine interference with contractual and economic relationships between athlete and engager, including the concepts of inducing breach of contract and tampering in the sports context.

Advanced Commercial Litigation Workshop

This course will introduce students to the commercial litigation process, including the Commercial List branch of the Ontario Superior Court. The course will revolve around a fact pattern and will progress from the first meeting with the client to the hearing before a judge. Students will engage in both oral and written advocacy exercises over the course of the semester.

Substantive topics that will be covered include: oppression and derivative actions; interlocutory, special and permanent injunctions; working with and cross-examining experts; case management, settlement and ADR. Throughout the course, students will be directed towards the relevant Rules of Civil Procedure and other applicable statutes and practice directions. Practical and strategic theories and considerations that will be addressed include: the client relationship; court filings and documents; commencing an action or application; engaging and instructing experts; cross-examination techniques; commercial litigation factums; oral advocacy and presentation; strategic settlement considerations and more.

By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate: a basic understanding of common commercial proceedings; an ability to communicate effectively with clients; understand the importance of and develop oral and written advocacy skills in the context of pleadings, motions and cross-examinations; an understanding of strategic and practical considerations in various stages of the commercial litigation process, including settlement; and an understanding of ethical considerations in pursuing or resolving litigation, including the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Legal Values: Theoretical Foundations of Contract Law

This seminar is intended to revisit the basic principles of your first-year contracts class, but this time from a rich theoretical perspective. The basic principles of contract law are firmly settled, and yet there is deep theoretical disagreement about their precise contours, purpose, and justification. This course has two main learning objectives. The first is to deepen students’ understanding of the fundamental principles of contract law by studying how those principles are embedded in settled doctrine and yet continually subject to controversy and disagreement. The second is to teach students to think critically about the law through the lens of a variety of theoretical and interdisciplinary frameworks. We will explore questions such as: what is the point of the doctrine of consideration? Is it a functional tool that could be replaced by some other functional tool or does it have some non-instrumental significance? What is the justification for the expectation measure of damages? If there is a right to performance, then why isn’t specific performance the default contractual remedy? If contract law is the law of voluntary obligations, what view should we take of standard form agreements that are rarely read or understood? How does the common law of contracts fit with contract law’s equitable doctrines? How can we reconcile contractual freedom with contractual fairness? Is there—and should there be–a duty of good faith in contract?

International Dispute Resolution: Sports Disputes & Arbitration

This seminar will introduce students to the resolution of sports disputes, particularly through arbitration and as it relates to national and international-level Canadian athletes. The course will be comprised of five modules that address different topics. Module 1 will review the basics of international sports disputes and arbitration more generally, which serves as the bedrock for the resolution of most sports-related disputes. Module 2 will consist of an in-depth review of the global anti-doping system with a particular emphasis on the rules and case law applicable to the hearing of a doping case. The instructors will pull from firsthand experience representing various athletes, coaches and sports federations (eg Tyson Fury, Johan Bruyneel, the International Paralympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency) in teaching this portion of the seminar.  Module 3 will address other common sports-related disputes such as carding, team selection, governance and safe sport issues. Module 4 will touch on human rights and discrimination in sport and include a discussion of important cases the instructors have worked (eg Caster Semenya’s challenge to World Athletics testosterone rules, the representation of the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team, and other athletes discriminated against based on transgenderism or gender). Module 5 will touch on the resolution of sports related disputes within professional sports. By the end of the seminar, students should be comfortable in navigate the procedures for sports-related disputes and assessing the typical substantive issues that require adjudication in sport.

Law, Society & State: Derivatives Law & Crypto Contracts

Derivatives products have exploded in the last 30 years from being used for important risk hedging in the institutional sector to large speculative trading.  We are now seeing a similar explosion of activity for retail investors particularly in the crypto trading area.
This is a two hour course that provides a history of the development of derivatives,  and overview and explanation of derivatives and derivatives regulation in Canada and internationally, including crypto assets and the regulation of crypto trading, from the perspective of a regulator. We will review the Ontario Securities Act, regulations and policies, as it relates to derivatives and also look at futures oversight under the Commodity Futures Act and have an in-depth discussion of the post financial meltdown derivatives regulatory reform.  We will also provide an introduction to documentation of OTC derivatives.
We will then examine blockchain technology and how it is used in crypto contracts and currencies, Defi, NFT’s, stablecoins, and staking. We will review the developing oversight regime for these products and participants in Canada and internationally.  We will discuss the gaps in regulation in this area and look at the Quadriga example to assess the risks involved in trading in these markets and the role of regulation to prevent further investor losses.
In a fast developing new area of the law this will provide students an up to date discussion that will be adjusted through the course to accommodate new developments, particularly as it relates to the oversight of the crypto markets.  We will also ask questions regarding these new volatile markets like: Is there anything underlying these assets?  Is this the present day version of tulip mania? Will crypto currencies be around for decades or will they be short term speculative investments that benefit some to the detriment of many?  Or are they the future that will replace sovereign currencies and provide cheaper sources of payment that will remove the costs associated with financial intermediation from Banks?  Who should invest in these products?  Who shouldn’t?
The goal is to have students leave the course with a solid grounding in derivatives, crypto and derivatives law.  We will use a multi media approach using a variety of related printed and online materials.  There will also be expert guest lecturers for some of these topics.

Legal Drafting

This course is designed to help students develop practical skills in drafting clear and effective legal documents.  The focus will be on the form and substance of formal agreements supporting corporate and commercial transactions as well as certain dispute resolution scenarios.  Students will work with document precedents, review, draft, revise, and discuss various legal documents.  The work will include class discussions and take home assignments.

Individual Employment Relationship

This course offers an introduction to and comprehensive overview of employment law, which is the law (common law and statutory) governing the individual employment relationship. More than two-thirds of Canadian workers are not unionized; this course is about them and their employers. The goal of the course is to provide students with fluency in the theory, principles, doctrines and jurisprudence of the employee-employer relationship. Main topics include: the formation of an employment contract; express and implied contractual terms; workplace standards; employee and employer rights and obligations during employment, including human rights; the termination of the employment contract and the rights and obligations upon severance.

Contracts II

This course will provide a framework for students to explore contract law and contract theory at a more advanced level. It will explore contract doctrines that are not usually covered in the first year curriculum or are covered only superficially. Topics may include: the parol evidence rule, warranties and implied terms, exclusionary clauses, promissory estoppel, mistake, frustration, illegality, the restitutionary and punitive remedies for breach of contract, and the intersections between contract and tort in negligent misrepresentation and inducing breach of contract. It will also ask students to return to what they studied in first year and re-think it in a deeper, more theoretical way, asking questions such as: How should we understand the doctrine of consideration and is the doctrine justified? How should contract law approach boilerplate contracts? Why is there a separate requirement of “intention to create legal relations”? How can we understand the difference between the common law and equitable doctrines of contract law?

Bankruptcy & Insolvency Law

Covid 19, supply chain challenges, war in Ukraine, inflation- the world is facing uncertain and challenging times. These challenges will effect financial stability of Canadian businesses and individuals. Some, no doubt, will become insolvent.How do we address the societal and practical consequences of these insolvencies?  

Bankruptcy and insolvency laws provide a framework for restructuring or liquidating insolvent businesses or rehabilitating insolvent individuals.

This course will take a practical approach to reviewing the principal insolvency and restructuring regimes in Canadian law – bankruptcies, receiverships and restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act or the proposal provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.  In addition to learning the substantive and procedural rules with respect to each regime, we will consider the practical implications of insolvencies with respect to various stakeholders such a workers, retirees, pensioners, landlords and governments.

This course combines an analysis of the relevant statutory material and case law with an understanding of the policy choices in insolvencies, as well as the different roles which an insolvency system may play in contemporary society.

Business Associations

This course provides an introduction to the laws governing the predominant forms of business organization in Canada including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and corporations.  The focus of the course will be on business corporations.  The course will cover topics such as: the creation and organization of the corporation, the corporation as a distinct entity from its shareholders, pre-incorporation contracts, corporate capital structures, directors’ and officers’ duties, and shareholders’ rights and remedies.  This course will also examine theoretical perspectives of corporations and discuss contemporary corporate governance and corporate social responsibility issues as well. The above information is provided for course registration purposes only and is subject to change at any time.