Governance of the International Financial System

This seminar aims to provide students with a solid grounding in the legal and policy issues arising from the operation of the international financial system. It will be of special interest to students interested in public international law, financial regulation, and political economy of law. The substantive focus is on the role of relevant international institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund. The seminar will likely begin with sessions on the history, economics, and politics of the international financial system, examining concepts such as money, the balance of payments, rules and discretion, soft law, and sovereignty. It then turns to the evolution of the IMF and its Articles of Agreement, its regulation of the current and capital accounts of national economies, and the IMF’s relationship to other institutions, such as national governments/ central banks and private banks/ hedge funds.

The seminar content will probably evolve in an effort to capture current developments in the relationship between states, international institutions, and financial markets. In previous years, for instance, we examined sovereign debt, offshoring and tax havens, government responses to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the causes and evolving risks of financial instability, and the unfolding power relations among states and between states and private actors. Significant time is allocated in the seminar for critiques and for discussion of possible reforms. Students are afforded opportunities to develop their analytical, presentation, and research/ writing skills, in particular.

Given the current instability of the international financial system, this year students may be offered a dedicated research topic on which to write and report back to the class with a view to developing our collective understanding of current issues and of the perspectives and strategies of different institutions and key actors.

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.

Securities Regulation

A primary objective of this course is that students obtain a solid grounding in the basic concepts of Ontario securities law, as well as an understanding of the underlying policy objectives that regulators and decision-makers seek to achieve in implementing and interpreting statutory provisions.  Students should also develop some appreciation of how the requirements of securities law shape and influence business transactions and the activities of public issuers, as well as how courts and regulators deploy securities law concepts and policies in resolving disputes.  Participants will also be introduced to a variety of intellectual perspectives that critique or support current precepts of doctrine.  By the end of the course, students should be well positioned to recognize and apply the relevant securities law doctrines and concepts in the context  of examples of business transactions or activities, to understand the various roles that securities lawyers play as advisors to issuers or as litigators of securities law disputes, as well as to analyse the policy goals underlying securities law requirements.  For those students who do not necessarily intend to practice securities law, the expectation is that the course will provide a working knowledge of key aspects of capital markets operation and their governance by law.

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.  

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.

Regulation Of Competition

Competition is good. In most industrialized countries, including Canada, this belief in the value of competition – that consumer and businesses prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace – is a backbone of domestic and global economic policy. This belief is also the underpinning for the creation and enforcement of global and domestic competition/antitrust laws, including Canada’s Competition Act.  The Competition Act seeks to maintain and encourage competition in Canada, primarily through public and private enforcement. Competition law, enforcement and policy feature prominently in political debate and in the press, particular due to concentration concerns and the vigorous enforcement of competition laws. This course aims to provide students with a basic understanding of competition law, enforcement and policy and the analytical tools necessary to assess (1) the impact of such on a firm’s behaviour and consumer well-being, and (2) how law can be applied to a firm’s business conduct.  Key topics considered in detail in this course are:  (1) all aspects of Canada’s Competition Act, including its reviewable practices and criminal offences; (2) the respective roles, investigative powers and decision making powers of the Canadian Competition Bureau, the Commissioner of Competition, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Competition Tribunal and the Courts; (3) mergers; (4) collusion among competitors; (5) abuse of dominance or monopolization; (6) deceptive marketing practices; and (7) private enforcement.  
Why take this course?
Individuals and firms, both small and large, require advice to ensure their conduct does not violate the criminal and civil provisions of competition law, is in compliance with all regulatory requirements, and does not result in exposure to civil suits by competitors, customers and suppliers. As a result, a basic knowledge of competition law is useful to anyone whose practice will have commercial aspects.  Practitioners whose work may benefit from some knowledge of competition law include:  
· Corporate and commercial practitioners (whether in a transactional or litigation practice) regardless of size of firm;
· Plaintiffs’ side lawyers (including tort lawyers);
· Criminal defence lawyers;
· Intellectual property lawyers;
· Lawyers who advise clients in industries subject to regulation;
· In-house lawyers who counsel business people about the legality of business plans and communications in the regular course of business; and  
· Government lawyers.
 Note: The instructor of this course/ seminar has indicated a preference or willingness to conduct optional in-person meetings for students. All in-person meetings will be optional for students until the general return to in-person instruction that is expected for the winter 2022 term. Any in-person meetings in the fall 2021 term that cover examinable course content will be accompanied by a remote participation option, such as a separate remote class, live dual delivery, and/ or a recording of the class, at the instructor’s discretion. More information will follow from the instructor after students have enrolled; please also note that there is no guarantee of in-person instruction in any course or seminar.

Securities Regulation

This is a four hour course in which we will deliver an overview of securities regulation in Canada from a practitioner’s perspective. We will review the Ontario Securities Act, regulations and policies, and will reference certain securities laws in other jurisdictions as well. We will study certain key securities regulatory concepts and how they intersect with today’s corporate finance markets. Our review will include: the meaning of terms such as “security”, “trade” and “distribution”; primary and secondary distribution of securities; prospectus offerings; private placement exemptions and resale rules; regulation of the trading markets including various stock exchange rules; capital pool companies and SPACs; continuous and timely disclosure; takeover bid legislation; mergers and acquisitions; primary and secondary market civil liability; and regulatory enforcement issues. Our goal is to have our students leave the course with a solid grounding in Canadian securities law as well as a good understanding of how these laws impact corporate finance in Canada.

Administrative Law

In this course, we will study the law of public decision-making. Administrative law applies to a diverse group of public officials who exercise delegated power and deliver public programs and services, including the Benchers of the Law Society of Ontario, the Landlord and Tenant Board, municipal councils, university decision-makers, public inquiries, the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and so on. Administrative decision-makers make countless decisions that impact the daily lives of individuals and communities, many of which involve a great deal of discretion. Administrative law aims to ensure that these decisions are transparent and justified, are unbiased and made according to fair procedure, consistent with constitutional demands, and within the scope of the decision-maker’s power.  In this course, we will critically examine whether administrative law achieves these aims. We will explore the following kinds of questions: How and why are certain public powers delegated to administrative decision-makers? What role do these decision-makers play in the structure of Canadian public life? What principles should govern the design of administrative decision-makers to protect against and address individual and systemic bias? How do administrative bodies carry out their mandate and exercise their powers? What legal rules and principles govern administrative decision-making?  What legal rights do individuals have when they access public services? Of what relevance is administrative law for Indigenous self-governance? What role does administrative law play in both undermining and advancing reconciliation? What are the principles and who are the actors of Aboriginal administrative law? When are courts justified in intervening in the decisions of public authorities? What remedies are available when public officials act unfairly, unreasonably or unlawfully? In answering these questions, we will seek to examine the rules of administrative law, the experiences of those affected by the administrative state, the ideals of justice that shape the law, the policy debates underlying administrative law, and the realities of practice in the administrative realm.

Administrative Law

Administrative law, a fundamental guardian of the rule of law, is the branch of public law that regulates devolved decision-making by bodies that implement government policy and services.  The government frequently devolves power through legislation to a diverse range of decision-makers; administrative law is the set of rules that regulates, and places checks and balances, on that often far-reaching power.  The study of administrative law provides a foundation for the study of, and practice in, many areas of law including constitutional, quasi-criminal, professional regulation and discipline, national security, military, financial regulation, municipal, immigration, human rights, environmental, sports and entertainment, tax, indigenous, health (including the recent challenges posed by Covid-19), labour and employment, competition, arbitration, education, and public inquiries.

Public International Law

This course provides an introductory survey of public international law as a discipline and a political enterprise through the lens of the function of international legal system, its norms, processes, institutions, actors and participants. We will tackle a few legal doctrinal questions ranging from sources of international law to regulation of the use of force, humanitarianism, forceful intervention, and more with an eye on the shrinking lines between the domestic and the international and another on the changing notion of the ‘international’. Throughout, our doctrinal investigation will take aid from both theoretical literature and historical and contemporary state of international political life to weigh the possibilities and limitations of international law in global affairs.