Litigation Dispute Resolution and the Administration of Justice Colloquium

This seminar is the capstone course for the Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and the Administration of Justice (LDA) Stream. It provides the opportunity for students to develop and refine a major research paper in collaboration with their peers and the instructor. The seminar is designed to help students bring together the cumulative knowledge and skills they have obtained in courses in the LDA stream, to further develop their critical thinking and writing abilities, and to provide an opportunity to improve skills associated with collegial interaction, including the ability to constructively engage with colleagues’ work. The seminar proceeds in three phases. The first phase focus on the selection of topics, the development and refinement of the research question, and research methodologies. Students will then present their paper proposals to the class for comment and discussion and prepare a formal commentary on one other proposal. In the second phase, students develop the structure and substance of their papers. Based on the feedback and further research, students will prepare and present an outline and receive feedback on their analysis, argument, expository strategy, and literature engagement. In the third phase, the students will participate in intensive editing workshops to provide them with techniques for improving the quality of their writing, discuss the relevant LDA literature, and address objections and comments. The seminar’s final session will be a roundtable in which all students will have the opportunity to engage with advanced drafts of their papers.

International Dispute Resolution: International Commercial Arbitration

This seminar will introduce participants to the resolution of international disputes through arbitration, and in particular, the key stages of an international arbitration, including the drafting of arbitration clauses, constitution of the tribunal, managing the arbitral procedure, evidentiary hearings, and finally, the set aside and enforcement of awards. In addition, the seminar will provide particular instruction on key features of international commercial arbitration, including arbitral institutions, investor-state arbitration, and various procedural rules.

Special emphasis is placed on the practical management of complex international arbitral proceedings by counsel. In this regard, the seminar will include particular instruction on client management, maximizing costs and efficiency, arbitrator selection, key advocacy skills, and ethical challenges that can arise in the context of international commercial arbitration.

By the end of the seminar, students should be comfortable with the key legal concepts underpinning the arbitral process and considerations structuring and managing an effective arbitral process.

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.

Dispute Settlement

This Dispute Settlement seminar provides students with an introduction to and overview of appropriate ways to resolving disputes in disparate legal contexts. Students will be introduced to a variety of topics, including: mediation theory & practice, how to build a reflective mediation practice, how to effectively participate as counsel to a civil law mediation; negotiation theory and practice,  how to identify and develop effective mediator and negotiator micro-skills, how to identify high-conflict parties, and how to map out alternative dispute resolution paths in high-conflict settings, such as value-based conflicts. Teaching methods include: lectures (Socratic and otherwise), facilitated class discussions, interactive small and larger group exercises, instructional videos, and panel discussions with relevant guest speakers.

Students are expected to attend all classes (whether online or in person), to actively participate in the class and in the various course exercises, to complete the required readings for each class, and to complete any in-class assignments. In addition, students will be expected to prepare a research-based scholastic paper.

Theory and Practice of Mediation

The mediation seminar offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the utility and impact of mediation within the context of dispute resolution in Canada. Students will gain an understanding of mediation through the weekly seminars, simulations, reflections, and, circumstances permitting, co-mediations at Small Claims Courts in Ontario.

The seminar will examine the utility of mediation and alternative dispute resolution, ethical and professional responsibility issues that arise in practice, the role of emotion, gender and culture in the process, and analyze the issues that students encounter in their own mediations and simulations.

The seminar includes i) mediation training, including weekly simulations, and introduction to mediation and mediation-advocacy theory; ii) weekly seminars, guest lectures, and discussions and critiques of the course readings; iii) mediations in small claims courts; and iv) a reflective research paper comprised of issues discussed in the seminar, raised in assigned readings and confronted in students’ mediations.

Trial Advocacy

An introduction to the techniques of trial advocacy in civil and criminal trials. Consideration is given to pre-trial preparation and case analysis, opening and closing statements, examination and cross-examination of witnesses, evidence issues, expert evidence, tactical questions and ethical issues that confront the trial lawyer. Students perform simulation exercises in small groups under the critical guidance of experienced trial lawyers and Judges.  Students conduct 1/2 day jury trials with two-student counsel acting on each side of the case.  Trials are presided by Judges of either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice.

Administration of Civil Justice: Estate Litigation

This seminar will examine the substantive, procedural, and practical issues surrounding litigating certain claims by and against estates. Topics may include, depending upon available time, a detailed review of will challenges, dependant support claims, appointment and removal of estate trustees, passing of accounts, quantum meruit claims, and solicitor’s negligence in drafting wills. We will also examine the role of mandatory mediation and other negotiation techniques in resolving estate litigation.

For each of these topics, we will explore how a client’s case is developed through the interaction of the case law, the Rules of Civil Procedure, the applicable statutes, the rules of evidence, and the psychology of the family unit.

Lawyer as Negotiator

Given the current conditions and anticipating the University’s facilitation of public health directives, this course will be held via live-streamed sessions. There may be occasional opportunities to attend workshops in person, possibly on Wednesday or Friday afternoons. These additional sessions would be offered on an entirely optional basis and attendance would be voluntary.

Law schools have traditionally prepared lawyers for litigation and the courts, although in practice lawyers spend much of their time resolving disputes through forms of dispute resolution, including negotiation and mediation. Lawyer as Negotiation is designed to familiarize students with representative negotiation theory and practice, and specifically how theory informs the development of bargaining strategy in a legal setting. Students will attend weekly lectures, conduct negotiation simulations, and participate in small group discussions and reflections which will introduce and critique the principles of representative negotiation. Students will be expected to prepare detailed negotiation plans for their weekly negotiations as well as a final negotiation held at the end of the semester. Students will be coached and critiqued by dispute resolution practitioners throughout the year and will be encouraged to reflect on and discuss their weekly negotiations in small working groups of either 14 or 16 students.
The first half of the course will introduce students to distributive and integrative bargaining techniques as well as the importance of developing a negotiation strategy and a detailed plan for each negotiation. The second half of the course will focus on the importance of power, gender, culture, ethics, and emotions, among other issues, in representative negotiations.

Class Actions

Class actions have become a key element of the Canadian civil justice system. Building on the tradition of public interest litigtation, they promote access to justice, judicial economy and behaviour modification, while supporting traditional procedural values. The interface between these aspirations has generated considerable interest and debate among practitioners and academics alike.

In this seminar, we welcome a series of leading counsel, judges and professors to discuss with us topics such as the roles of class counsel and defense counsel, and related ethical issues; costs (who should pay and when and how much) and principals of funding and financing; the role of court-approved settlements in maximizing value for the class; the role of the representative plaintiff and the ways in which the interests of the class can best be served; and parallel and overlapping cross-border class actions.

This is an excellent seminar for those considering a career in civil litigation and for those interested in the way class actions are transforming the role of civil justice in society.

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.