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. Students will also participate in a mock mediation exercise.

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

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.

Children And The Law

This seminar will examine both theoretical and practical aspects of child protection law. The theoretical component will include an analysis of family autonomy in the face of state intervention and the best interests of children in a risk-driven protection environment as opposed to the conventional benefits-driven best interests tests applied in private custody cases. We will explore Charter implications of various aspects of child protection law throughout the seminar, as well as the inter-disciplinary nature of child protection work.
The practical component will provide students with the opportunity to examine child protection issues through case studies and to engage in case preparation for selected fact patterns. Both theoretical and practical components will examine tactical, ethical and policy questions throughout the seminar.

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 professional responsibility concerns. 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.

Taxation Law

This course introduces the fundamental principles of the Canadian federal income tax system. We will focus on building the vocabulary of taxation and exploring the social, political, and economic factors that shape the development of the law. By the end of the course, students should understand why societies tax, who and what they tax, and how they do so; be familiar with the general structure and principles of the Canadian federal income tax system; and develop skills in close, critical reading and interpretation of primary and secondary legal sources.

The central focus of the course is on the tax principles for the treatment of revenue, losses, and expenses earned or incurred by individuals. We will further discuss general tax policy issues and situate the income tax within the broader Canadian tax system. To ensure students obtain a practical understanding of tax law, the course will also introduce the tax administration and dispute resolution frameworks.

Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to build their skills in interpreting complex statutes and applying tax rules to facts. The course uses a combination of lectures, videos, short exercises, and problems for discussion, which will provide you with several opportunities for active learning.

For those of you who fear numbers, take heart. This course focuses on the legal rules underlying our income tax system, not on mathematics. Any math used in class or tested on the exam is limited to simple computation exercises to illustrate tax rules and their application.

Taxation Law

Taxation Law is the foundational course in tax. It is one of the highly recommended courses for
students at Osgoode. It is designed for students who find tax issues intriguing and also for those
who are more interested in the many other substantive areas of law which invariably intersect with tax.  

The course is a survey of the federal income tax system, with a focus on the taxation of individuals. Students will learn about the general framework of the Income Tax Act, come to appreciate the underlying principles and policies of the system, and develop statutory interpretation skills that will serve them well in practice.  

Students are expected to have read the prescribed readings before class. The amount of the readings for this course is modest. Students are encouraged to bring questions to class. No laptops or mobile devices are allowed during class. Attendance is required.

Students interested in taking the course should obtain a copy of Li, Magee and Wilkie, Principles of Canadian Income Tax Law (9th edition) from the publisher (Thomson Reuters) or the York University Library before December 31, 2022. This book will used as the main reading material for the course.


This course will provide a survey of key issues relating to trusts and trustees. The topics to be covered include: the juridical nature of the trust as a distinctive legal relationship, the reasons for which trusts are established (or come into existence by operation of law), the means by which trusts are established, and the different species of trusts, including express trusts, purpose trusts, constructive trusts and resulting trusts, and issues relating to trustee duties. Some equitable doctrines beyond the trust proper may be covered if time permits.


This course will provide a survey of key issues relating to trusts and trustees. The topics to be covered include: the juridical nature of the trust as a distinctive legal relationship, the reasons for which trusts are established (or come into existence by operation of law), the means by which trusts are established, the different species of trusts, including express trusts, purpose trusts, constructive trusts and resulting trusts, and issues relating to trustee duties.


With the aging Canadian population, estate planning and administration are in a growing area of legal practice.  This is a course primarily on the law of succession to property on death, including:
·        capacity to make a Will and do other estate planning transactions
·        appointment and role of substitute decision makers during incapacity
·        dying without a Will and devolution of property passing through the estate
·        formal validity of a Will and testamentary gifts
·        structuring a Will
·        various challenges to a Will such as interpretation and limitations
·        property passing on death outside the estate through joint ownership or designation of beneficiary (on life insurance and registered plans)
·        the steps involved in the administration of an estate
·        high level impact of estate administration tax and income tax on estates
·        spousal property rights on death and the support of the deceased’s dependants
·        estate lawyer’s duties to a client, including under the Rules of Professional Conduct and
·        some tools to protect the estate plan from legal challenge.      
By registering for this course, students acknowledge that short portions of their submitted assignments may be subsequently used in class, for review and education purposes, in compliance with the Fair Dealing Guidelines for York Faculty and Staff.

Family Law I

The course is intended to provide an introduction to the legal regulation of the family in Canadian and provincial law. The course is divided into six sections in order to facilitate an examination of the creation of the family unit, the regulation of the ongoing family, and the problems of family breakdown.

The first three classes present an introduction to various definitions of the family and provides relevant sociological and demographic context to the range of viable definitions. An overview of the seminal issues and tensions in family law will be canvassed. The introductory materials also cover the constitutional dimensions of family law.

The introductory materials are followed by a series of classes on the creation of the family. Several weeks of classes will cover adult relationship formation (including marriage) and the creation of parent-child relationships including adoption and reproductive technologies.

This is followed by a series of classes on the dissolution of the family. It is in this section that students will be exposed to the technicalities of divorce, along with topics such as the private ordering of dissolution (via mechanisms such as contract, mediation, and collaborative lawyering).

The fifth section covers the consequences of dissolution for adults by an examination of property division on dissolution, dealings with the matrimonial home, and spousal support.

The sixth and final section of the course deals with the consequences of family dissolution for children and covers issues such as custody and access, and child support.

In examining the rights and responsibilities of family members, we will explore questions such as: What is a family? What is a spouse? What is a parent? The answers to these questions are no longer as settled as they once seemed. We will consider the law’s answer to these questions, and the extent to which the legal regulation of the family is responding to changing and diverse family forms. Attention will be given to the issues of gender, race and class.

This class will be delivered in-person to the extent that York University’s Disruption Policy allows (i.e., York’s COVID-related policy). Classes will be audio-recorded.

The course will be taught from a critical and policy-oriented perspective. The course emphasizes the role of law in defining and enforcing family arrangements, and the rights and responsibilities of family members. The course pays particular attention to law reform and policy choices in the legal regulation of the family in Ontario. The objective of the course is to provide a social, political and economic context within which legislative policies and judicial approaches can be understood and critically evaluated.