Real Estate Transactions

Real estate represents the single greatest source of wealth for Canadians and Canadian businesses.  It is complex with long standing historical roots. We will examine the agreement of purchase and sale which is the foundation of every real estate transaction, when is it enforceable, what should be in it, how it should be drafted and why, when to use conditions, promises or representations, how it is completed and what remedies are available for its breach.  Other issues which will be examined include the land registration system, real estate agents duties, mortgages and other security, mortgage remedies, title insurance, Planning Act, fraud and solicitor’s opinions.

Real Estate Transactions

This course will use the standard Ontario Agreement of Purchase and Sale as a baseline to examine the leading academic issues and legal questions regarding real estate transactions in Ontario. We will focus on understanding how a real estate transaction works, the rights and obligations of the buyer and the seller of real estate, and the roles and obligations of the professionals involved in these transactions: the realtors, lawyers and mortgage brokers.

Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Governance

Established technologies like the internet and social and emerging ones like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, are transforming how we live, work, and interact. These changes raise a host of complex law, policy, ethical, and governance challenges in a range of domestic and global contexts, including internet censorship, the role and regulation of social media platforms, disinformation and online abuse, legal automation, algorithmic discrimination, privacy, surveillance, fintech, and cyber-warfare. Among the kinds of questions pursued in this course: Who is responsible when technology causes harms? Do we have to forego privacy for either technological innovation or security? How best to regulate social media, if at all? What can we do to prevent algorithmic discrimination and other forms of technology-enabled human rights abuse? What is “ethical” AI and how can we incentivize it?

These issues and other significant challenges and controversies in the law, policy, and governance of emerging technologies will be contextualized and brought to life via case-studies and real world scenarios involving issues that are often currently in the news and unfolding in real time outside the classroom in government, industry, and civil society. The course aims to introduce and provide a foundation in law and technology issues — to identify them, understand and think critically about them, and manage them in practice.  

Estates

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.

Patents

This course deals with the law of patents in Canada. Patent law is one of the main headings of intellectual property law (along with copyrights and trademarks); trade secrets arise from a combination of contracts, equity and property law. The regime of patents protects inventions by granting inventors a limited monopoly of twenty years in exchange for disclosing the invention to society. The essential justification of the patent system is that it enables and rewards innovation. Arguments may also be made that patents afford a secure means by which inventions may be put to commercial use by investors. The course will examine the statutory basis of patent law in Canada, the judicial construction and interpretation of both primary and subsidiary regulations of Canadian patent law. The course will also locate developments in Canadian patent law in the context of international and regional transformations in the field. In this context, the course will explore contemporary controversies over the expansion of patent rights in biotechnology (from patenting mousetraps to patenting mice), and the shift from copyright protection to patent protection for computer programs. It is expected that at the end course, students would have a solid understanding of Canadian patent law as well as how international developments shape and influence Canadian patent law.

Real Estate Transactions

The purpose of this course is to review and analyze the legal, ethical and practical issues in commercial and residential transactions respecting real property. Problems and remedies related to real estate transactions, including those involving real estate brokers and agents, sellers and buyers, mortgagors and mortgagees will be examined. Focus will be on the foundational areas of real estate law and their sources, including cases and statutes.

Estates

A basic and fundamental course in the law of Wills and Estates, including: an examination of will planning and drafting; consequences of not having a will; steps involved in the administration of an estate; the impact of legislation dealing with basic income tax issues, matrimonial entitlement, and the support of dependants; mental incapacity issues and the appointment of substitute decision-makers for incapable persons; and the resolution of estates disputes, including a review of available alternative dispute resolution procedures.

Copyright

This course is a study of the limited statutory monopoly granted to the authors of musical, literary, dramatic and artistic works under the Canadian copyright regime. From art and entertainment to education and information, copyright law affects almost every aspect of our lives. With the shift towards an information economy and the rapid development of digital technologies, copyright is one of the most dynamic, critical and controversial areas of Canadian law and policy. The course will examine the requirements for copyright protection, the kinds of works that qualify for protection, and the scope of the rights granted to the copyright owner. Among the subjects to be explored are: the nature and scope of the owner’s ‘right’ in her work; the meaning of authorship and originality; the transfer and licensing of copyright interests; the dichotomy between protected expression and unprotected ideas; the role of the public interest and the public domain; and the freedom of users to deal with copyrighted works. Through analysis of the Copyright Act and common law jurisprudence, the course offers a comprehensive introduction to copyright law while critically assessing the copyright system in terms of its justifications and its public policy objectives. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the fundamentals of copyright doctrine, as well as with the theoretical and policy controversies that surround copyright in the modern age.