Sample courses

The first year of the law program curriculum is com­pulsory and provides you with a firm grounding in fundamental legal principles, techniques, and methodology. All first-year students must take courses in the following subjects:

  • contract law,
  • criminal law,
  • legal research and writing,
  • property law, and
  • public law and torts.

Second- and third-year courses on civil procedure, constitutional law, and profes­sional responsibility are required, but all others are electives from which you can choose according to your own interests. There's a broad range of courses, including all the subjects recommended by the Provincial Barristers Societies to students intending to practice law.

Plus, there are a variety of specialty courses, including international, ma­rine, environmental, electronic commerce, and health law subjects. These courses are offered at three prestigious institutes: the Health Law Institute, the Law and Technology Institute, and the Marine and Environmental Law Institute.

LAWS 1000
Contracts and Judicial Decision-making

This class will help you achieve two primary objectives: understanding how the common law process developed through judicial decisions, and knowing how the doctrines and precepts of the law governing contracts are created and upheld. The “case method” of teaching helps you acquire a lawyer-like understanding of various legal concepts. You’ll undertake a critical evaluation of judicial law-making by examining legislative intervention in the field of contract law. You’ll also examine the substantive rules of contract law.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

LAWS 1001
Criminal Justice: The Individual and the State

Relationships among the state, individuals, and communities are considered in the context of Canadian criminal law. You’ll investigate the legal rights provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, selected topics in criminal procedure, and the principles of the substantive (or general part of) criminal law. In lectures and discussions, you’ll use various materials including a volume of cases and the Criminal Code, which is used to illustrate methods and problems of statutory interpretation.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

LAWS 1006
Tort Law and Damage Compensation

The major objective of this course is to provide a basic understanding of the manner in which losses from injuries to personal, proprietary and economic interests are distributed through tort law. Attention will also be given to other methods of compensating for such losses, and to the relative merits of tort law vis-à-vis these alternative schemes. Materials to be studied include cases, appropriate legislation and doctrinal writings related to the problems of tort law and damage compensation in a diverse society.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

LAWS 2132
Health Law

This class is designed to expose you to a wide range of legal issues that arise in the field of health law. You’ll receive an introduction to the health care system and relevant laws governing health care delivery. Topics covered include: licensing and regulation of health care professionals; the legal framework of Canada's health care system; consent; minors and health care; confidentiality and disclosure of health information; public health; mental disability; biomedical research involving humans; and decision-making at the end of life.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

LAWS 2153
Business and Environmental Law

This class looks at the interrelationship between environmental issues and business issues and how those issues continue to evolve. You’ll discover how environmental issues, especially those relating to liability for contaminated sites, impact on and affect business transactions. This interrelationship is analyzed beginning with private disputes. The analysis then moves into the role of the various levels of government and the interplay between government and the private sector. Issues covered include due diligence, the role of the environmental consultants, stigma, jurisdictional difficulties, and international obligations.

Prerequisites: Co-requisite: Business Associations (LAWS 2002) or Environmental Law I (LAWS 2104)

LAWS 2201
Compulsory Moot

The second-year compulsory moot program is a full-year, mandatory class for all second-year students. You’ll learn written and oral advocacy through both a written factum and an oral advocacy exercise. In the fall term, you’ll be required to prepare and submit an Appeal Court Factum, which must adhere to procedural rules as set out in the Law School's Moot Court Manual.

In the winter term, you’ll then be required to present an oral moot based on your written submissions before a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices. The Compulsory Moot class is worth a total of 1 credit hour and is evaluated on a pass/fail/honour basis. If you perform exceptionally well during your second-year moots, you may be nominated for the Smith Shield Mooting Competition, held in October of the following academic year.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

Teaching first-year criminal law

Absolute fun
law_steve coughlan_mini_038 (69x69) (2)

Professor Stephen Coughlan refused to give up his teaching load when he took on the responsibilities of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. He simply loves teaching, especially first-year criminal law. Find out how Professor Coughlan—or Steve, as he prefers—helps his students learn legal language, and how to consider all the implications surrounding a criminal offense.

"I get to be in front of first-year students for six hours a week—it's too much fun to be challenging."