Canadian Law Course Descriptions

Global Professional Master of Laws in Canadian Law in a Global Context 

*Please note that not all courses will necessarily be available every year.

Foundations of Canadian Law (required) - Matthew Marinett and Tyler Wentzell

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to and overview of Canada's legal system and the role of law in Canadian society.  Topics considered will include the overarching legal framework, sources of legal authority, separation of powers, the role of international law, the nature and function of common law reasoning and judicial review, and selected issues relating to law and Aboriginal peoples. 

Professional Responsibility - Naomi Horrox

This course examines the fundamental concepts of professional responsibility for members of the Canadian legal profession. While the regulation of lawyers in Canada is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, the course will use as national models the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct and the Canadian Bar Association’s Code of Professional Conduct, which function as the national standards for professional legal conduct in Canada. Topics covered will include the legal landscape in Canada, the conduct and responsibilities of lawyers within that landscape, and how to identify and address professional issues that arise in practice. 

Canadian Administrative Law - David Goodis, Prof. Richard Stacey

Administrative law is the body of law regulating the ways in which government operates. It is about the rules and limits that apply to not only the operations of the Crown, Cabinets, Ministers, government departments, and municipal corporations but also the various administrative tribunals and agencies deployed by governments for the carrying out of governmental functions of all kinds. It is concerned with the procedures by which all these various instruments of government operate, the jurisdictional and substantive limits on their mandates, and the remedial structures that exist to ensure that decision-makers of various kinds act in accordance with the rule of law. As well, throughout the course, students are encouraged to reflect upon the divide between public law and private law and, in particular, the circumstances under which governmental authorities of various kinds or in various capacities are subject not to the special regime of administrative law principles and remedies but to the private law rules of contract, tort, restitution and the like.        

Canadian Constitutional Law - Candice Telfer & Michael Doi, Prof. Nathalie Des Rosiers        

This course addresses the nature and sources of the Constitution, the distribution of legislative powers, principles of interpretation, specific powers (including property and civil rights, trade and commerce, peace, order and good government, and criminal law), and the rights and freedoms outlined in the Canadian Constitution, including freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and religion, life, liberty and security of the person, equality rights, language rights, and Aboriginal rights. 

Canadian Criminal Law -  Prof. Malcolm Thorburn and Justice Rita Maxwell        

This course will examine essential aspects of criminal law, including sources and types of offences, elements of offences and particular issues such as intention, knowledge, consent, causation, and omissions. Other topics to be addressed will include extensions of criminal liability such as aiding and abetting, counselling, attempts and corporate liability, and defences such as mental disorder, intoxication, necessity, duress, provocation and entrapment. Finally, the course will consider issues relating to the criminal justice process, sentencing and appeals. 

Property Law - Prof. Larissa Katz

This course is designed to teach the fundamental principles of the law affecting real property as applied in the common law jurisdictions in Canada. The course will introduce students to the concepts that lawyers use in dealing with competing interests in land, chattels and other forms of wealth. The concept of "property" is examined as are the concepts of possession and ownership, and the consequences flowing from these concepts. Adverse possession, finders, bailment, gift, estates, easements, appropriation of personality, and intellectual property are among the other topics which will be covered. 

Tort Law -  Prof. Christopher Essert

The law of torts deals with the sorts of disputes which arise when one person has caused injury or property loss to another. Different theoretical perspectives on tort law will be analyzed in the course and some consideration given to alternative methods of compensating for personal injuries. 

Contract Law - Prof. Anthony Niblett 

This course examines the enforcement of promises and agreements. The matters considered include the requirements of enforceability, remedies for breach, the effect of contracts on third parties, the effect of writing, and excuses for non-performance. These excuses include unfairness, unexpected circumstances, and public policy. 

Business Organizations - Mark Surchin and Michelle Vigod 

This course examines the fundamental principles as well as the rules governing business organizations. Students will be introduced to the three most common forms of organization through which business activity is carried on, including proprietorships, partnerships and corporations of various kinds, and the contracts between the forms of companies, partnerships and proprietorships. The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the basic principles of corporate law in light of the current statutory regimes and evolving case law. Particular emphasis will be placed on the duties and responsibilities of directors and officers, and their relationship to the shareholders. 

Applied Legal Research and Writing - Prof. Katherine Vitale Lopez

This course introduces students to the way lawyers read, write, analyze, and frame legal arguments. Students will conduct basic legal research and write objective legal analyses. Students learn research and writing skills by participating in class discussions, working together on in-class exercises, and writing legal documents.

Advanced Criminal Law: Financial Crime in Global Context  - Andrew Matheson and Tyler Hodgson

In Canada and around the globe, financial crime is increasingly pervasive, complex and cross-border in nature. In response, companies are aiming to improve their policies, procedures and internal investigations to meet global as well as domestic standards. Authorities are more frequently cooperating across borders and asserting jurisdiction with extraterritorial effect. While extraterritorial jurisdiction over offences such as war crimes and human trafficking is clear, the authority to investigate and prosecute financial crimes with extraterritorial connections is more complex, factually and legally.  

This course builds on GPLLM Canadian Criminal Law, with a focus on financial crimes – how they are defined, detected, investigated, and prosecuted, including key evidentiary and constitutional issues that arise.  In addition, the course emphasizes global context, from the standpoint of corporate compliance and investigations, as well as cooperation between law enforcement agencies and initiatives by international organizations, such as the OECD and the World Bank.  Important differences between the laws of Canada and of other jurisdictions will be examined, such as differences in the protection against self-incrimination and double jeopardy in Canada and in the United States.  

Prior knowledge of financial crime and/or international enforcement is not a prerequisite.

Evidence Law - Prof. Malcolm Thorburn

 This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of the law of evidence. Common law and statutory rules of evidence are analyzed in light of the adversary system, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and other social values. While both civil and criminal evidence issues are considered, the focus is on the admissibility of evidence in criminal cases. Topics to be covered may include: relevancy, testimonial competence, the rule against hearsay, opinion evidence, character evidence, privilege and related matters, confessions, and illegally obtained evidence.

Negotiations - Jonathan Jacobs

Although most of us negotiate countless times every day, in both personal and work-related contexts, few of us ever sit back to analyze whether we negotiate well and whether we can improve our negotiation technique. Negotiation is a skill that can be learned and improved by practising and experimenting.

This will be a course in doing. Students will negotiate a number of hypothetical fact scenarios, and will analyze the results and techniques used. We will also have a number of classroom "exercises" designed to help improve negotiating skills. By the end of the course, we hope that students will be able to go into any negotiation confident that they have learned techniques that will consistently produce a "good" result. The theories taught in the course will be based on those in the book Getting To Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton (3rd edition). There will not be a lot of required outside reading.