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Course descriptions

Course descriptions are also available in the UOIT Undergraduate Academic Calendar and Course Catalogue. The online catalogue contains program maps for a general Legal Studies degree, as well as for specializations in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Human Rights Law and Information Law.

  • LGLS 2100U – Public Law

    This course is an introduction to the law relating to the state and its relationships, including the constitutional fundamentals of the Canadian legal and political system. It examines the structure of the Canadian constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federalism and division of powers, judicial review and Aboriginal and treaty rights. The course also includes an analysis of basic principles in administrative law, as well as a consideration of the role of law in public policy. The legislative and common law foundations of public law will also be introduced.

  • LGLS 2110U – Private Law

    This course is an introduction to the principles of private law: the law relating to the rights, duties and obligations individuals and other legal actors hold or owe toward one another. The course covers the basic concepts and underlying principles of contracts, torts and property law, and will introduce students to critical analysis of these core concepts. The course will also examine how and why the public-private distinction has been used in law.

  • LGLS 2120U – International Law

    International Law will introduce students to the key topics of public international law, including sources and subjects of public international law, the law of international treaties, state responsibility, use of force, self-determination, international human rights and international criminal law. The course will examine the functioning of the United Nations and some regional systems of human rights and international criminal law enforcement, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, and International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

  • LGLS 2200U – Legal Theory

    This course is a general introduction to legal theory. Some of the topics that may be covered include:

    • critical legal theory
    • feminist legal scholarship
    • legal pluralism
    • legal positivism
    • Marxian theories of law
    • natural justice
    • normative theory
    • sociological theories of law

    The intention of this course is to give the student an appreciation for the range and power of theoretical perspectives in legal studies.

  • LGLS 2300U – Commercial and Contract Law

    This course covers the basic concepts and underlying principles of the law of a contract from the establishment of a contract to remedies for breach of a contract. The application of the role of a contract and the enforcement of promises and agreements to commercial and social arrangements will be considered. Beyond contract, further commercial topics that may be covered include risk management and liability as well as the legal regulatory and administrative context of commercial activity.

  • LGLS 2420U – Canadian Human Rights Law

    What are human rights? What rights are included in Canadian and United Nations' conceptions of human rights? What happens when rights conflict? The course will examine Canada's domestic human rights protection mechanisms as well as its internal obligations under international human rights treaties. Among the topics discussed are federal and provincial human rights codes, federal and provincial human rights tribunal decisions, and decisions of Canadian courts involving internationally recognized human rights. The course will pay close attention to the roles of law, social attitudes and social activism in developing, respecting and enforcing human rights.

  • LGLS 2500U – Information and Privacy Law

    Information and privacy law examines two intersecting yet separate areas of law: privacy law and information law. The privacy law portion of the course will consider the privacy rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, public and private sector legislation such as the Privacy Act and the Protection of Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and the development of other causes of action addressing invasion of privacy by individuals. The information law portion will address the principles of open government and open justice, along with analysis of access to information legislation. The interplay between the two areas of law will be a persistent theme throughout the course.

  • LGLS 2940U – Legal Research Methods

    The objective of this course is for students to gain basic legal research skills that can be applied to any legal problem, as well as a critical understanding of research methods used in the interdisciplinary field of Legal Studies. The student will learn traditional methods of legal research, such as locating and interpreting relevant case law and legislation, as well as research skills for placing legal issues in a broader social context. Students will also be exposed to a variety of social science and humanities research methods that inform the field of Legal Studies.

  • LGLS 3100U – Administrative Law

    This course will introduce students to the body of law that governs administrative decision-making in a variety of areas, including immigration, human rights, labour relations, business regulation, land use planning, information and privacy and others. It will explore the rules and principles governing administrative decision-making (rights of individuals concerned, independence and impartiality of decision-makers, administrative discretion), principles of their judicial oversight (scope and standards of review) and remedies available.

  • LGLS 3130U – Family Law

    This course provides the basis for understanding legal and policy-based regulation of the family and familial relations. It will focus on the regulation of familial relations at three major points: the formation of family, its ongoing functioning and its dissolution. Among the topics examined are common-law unions, marriage, divorce, adoption, custody, spousal support, dispute resolution and others. The impacts of socio-cultural norms about family life on family law, as well as issues of race, gender and sexual orientation will be discussed. This course is essential for students who intend to pursue a minor in mediation.

  • LGLS 3200U – Sociology of Law

    This course examines the various philosophies, theories and perspectives that form the theoretical underpinnings of a sociological understanding of law. The focus includes perspectives influenced by classical and contemporary (including feminist, critical race and post-colonial) theorists. These theoretical perspectives will be applied to understanding the social dynamics of law, legal professions and the legal system.

  • LGLS 3220U – Philosophy of Law

    This course explores the nature of law by examining fundamental legal concepts such as justice, authority, legal rules, and the obligation to obey. Students will learn to critically analyze patterns of legal reasoning and the goals they serve.

  • LGLS 3230U – Law and Globalization

    Law has been traditionally understood as a state-created and state-enforced phenomenon. However, recent developments across the globe challenge this view by drawing our attention to the role played by non-state actors (NGOs, international organizations, corporations, and transnational entities) in generating norms, and implementing international and transnational rules. This evidence suggests that states are 'disaggregating' and that their powers and immunities are being redistributed to these non-state actors, which are increasingly becoming centres of authority in their own right. This course will introduce students to theoretical perspectives on law and globalization and will assist them in developing an appreciation for the complexity of regulatory frameworks and patterns in today's world. Topics may include:

    • economic regulation and international trade
    • impact of technological change
    • international justice and advocacy
    • migration
    • security
    • state sovereignty and post-conflict reconstruction
  • LGLS 3240U – Cultural Studies of Law

    This course explores cultural studies approaches to law. Part of the course will be dedicated to developments in legal scholarship, including law and literature, law and film, and law and popular culture. Students will become familiar with methods of reading cultural texts that deal with the law in various forms (such as courtroom dramas and legal thrillers, or texts dealing with divorce or other social phenomena which engage the law). Students will also study ways in which cultural studies scholars examine the law itself (such as cases or legislation), or place the law in a broader cultural context.

  • LGLS 3300U – Disability and the Law

    This course examines disability from a human rights perspective. Students will be introduced to different theories and historical approaches to disability, domestic and national documents dealing with disability rights, and mechanisms established to protect rights of disabled persons both nationally and internationally. The course will examine how law defines and treats disability in such contexts as employment, social assistance, medical treatment, criminal law and education.

  • LGLS 3310U – Indigenous Peoples, Law and the State in Canada

    This course is an overview of the evolution of Canadian law as it relates to Aboriginal peoples, including the history of the Indian Act, treaty rights, Aboriginal rights under the Charter, legislative jurisdiction, self-government, and land claims. We will discuss the role of Indigenous traditional jurisprudence in shaping Canadian law, and how law has been and continues to be used as an instrument of oppression against Aboriginal peoples in Canada. International aspects of Indigenous rights and legal claims will be considered

  • LGLS 3320U – Race, Ethnicity and the Law

    This course introduces students to the analysis of how racialized groups are treated in the Canadian justice system. It examines the way Canadian law has been used to ensure both difference and sameness of treatment of racialized and ethnic minorities. Students will examine litigation and legislation under the Charter, and critically consider the existence of structural discrimination.

  • LGLS 3330U – Gender, Sexuality and the Law

    This course examines gendered and sexual orientation inequities in the legal system, primarily through analysis of the legal regulation of sexuality, reproduction and family relationships. The course approaches topics from a critical perspective. Specific topics may include legal regulation of:

    • birth control and abortion
    • child custody and adoption
    • gender changing
    • marriage and divorce
    • pay equity and labour issues
    • reproduction
    • sex work and other sexual activities
    • sexual orientation and gender-based violence
    • survivor rights
  • LGLS 3410U – Labour and Employment Law

    This course will examine both collective and individual aspects of work relations, as well as regulation of unionized labour force (labour law) and regulation of individual employment contracts (employment law). The labour law component of the course will examine collective bargaining, unionization, industrial disputes, regulation of strikes, lockouts and pickets. The employment law component of the course will examine the formation of an individual employment contract, rights and duties of employees and employers, and termination of contracts. Pay equity, occupational health and safety, employment standards and human rights will be addressed as issues relating to both employment and labour law. Students will gain basic understanding of the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the Ontario Employment Standards Act, and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

  • LGLS 3430U – International Human Rights

    This course familiarizes students with major international and regional human rights documents, national implementation of human rights obligations, and the international bodies created to monitor the compliance of state parties to human rights treaties. Topics that may be discussed include prohibition of torture in the context of the war on terror, the right to life and the death penalty, human rights and development, as well as various humanitarian and human rights issues arising in conflict situations. In addition, the course considers the role of non-state actors such as international organizations, NGOs and multinational corporations in the human rights process.

  • LGLS 3510U – Censorship and Freedom of Expression

    This course examines the legal tensions and social dynamics of censorship and freedom of expression. Some of the substantive areas that may be considered are:

    • advertising as expression
    • hate
    • pornography
    • political expression

    The importance of Charter cases will be analyzed.

  • LGLS 3520U – Law and Technology

    New technologies engage the law in at least three ways:

    • They may become the object of regulation.
    • They may affect the application of the law to human interactions.
    • They may affect the procedural elements of the law (such as evidence law).

    The course will examine the ways in which both historical and recent technological inventions engage and are engaged by the law.

  • LGLS 3530U – Intellectual Property

    This course is an overview of the ever-expanding and shifting intangible property at the centre of the information society. The course will address copyright, patent, trademarks, personality rights and trade secrets. Students will examine the Canadian legal regime protecting and limiting protection of intellectual property, and place it in the context of the challenges wrought by internationalization and technological change.

  • LGLS 3600U – Family Mediation

    This course examines conflict not only in the traditional two-parent family situation but also in emerging single and same-sex parented families. While the main focus will be on conflicts created during marriage breakdown, separation and divorce, emphasis will also be given to issues of intergenerational care and abuse involving both children and the elderly. Skills and forms of practice leading to the creation of parenting plans and separation agreements will be examined against the backdrop of the emotional, social and legal forces affecting the participants. Family relations mediation, family financial mediation and family comprehensive mediation with emphasis on the development of parenting plans will be considered.

  • LGLS 3610U – Employment and Mediation

    Mediation in employment involves conflicts relating to the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and the conditions of employment. It also involves the grievance processes that arise out of those agreements on an ongoing basis and require alternative self-determined, informal, dispute-resolution processes in addition to the possibilities of arbitration or litigation. It may also include the mediation of interpersonal disputes in the workplace. Students in this course will be expected to understand the legal framework of employment and will demonstrate an ability to create win-win solutions to typical conflicts in this area.

  • LGLS 3620U – Human Rights Mediation

    Human rights mediation looks at the way mediation and alternative dispute resolution can be used in the context of human rights complaints. Students will examine human rights mediation initiatives such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission and ways in which mediation is used to divert disputes from the tribunal process. Students are also exposed to the ways in which mediation is used in human rights disputes to resolve conflict and educate parties to rights issues. Students in this course are expected to understand the legal framework of human rights and will demonstrate an ability to create win-win solutions to typical conflicts in this area.

  • LGLS 4000U – Advanced Topics in Legal Studies

    This course will provide the opportunity for advanced critical analysis of specific legal studies topics. Students will be expected to synthesize material from previous courses and apply it to a designated legal studies issue, demonstrating significant mastery of concepts, theory and legal research skills.

  • LGLS 4010U – Communication Law and Policy

    The course will address a range of topics governing communication in Canada and internationally, regarding the broadcasting, information and telecommunications industries, as well as how rules and policies designed for industries apply to individuals. The course content may include:

    • how broadcasting and communication policy is made
    • national ownership rules
    • program content and quality regulation
    • access to the media
    • how each of these topics are affected by digital broadcasting and publication venues

    Further topics may include:

    • freedom of expression
    • access to information rights
    • defamation law
    • personality rights
    • whether there is a right to protect confidential sources
    • how these areas of law affect the work of journalists and other newsgatherers and publishers

    The course may also consider the legal and policy issues affecting producers and consumers of digital media, addressing topics such as:

    • broadband policy
    • intellectual property rights
    • network neutrality
    • online reputation management
    • surveillance
  • LGLS 4020U – Topics in Comparative Law

    The specific topics of this course may vary from year to year. The focus of the course will be on differences and similarities between and among legal systems and various systems of social control (such as customary law) considered in their social, political, economic or historical contexts. Topics may include:

    • comparative immigration, citizenship and indigenous rights
    • comparative legal and social theory
    • comparative constitutional law (federalism, civil liberties and human rights, theories of the role of judges)
    • comparative criminal law
    • critiques of dominant perspectives on any of these areas
  • LGLS 4030U – Law and the Body

    The course will consider a range of legal regimes that aim to protect, control, define or displace the human body, and the legal and ethical debates these regimes inspire or reflect. The theoretical underpinning of the course may include:

    • concepts of the 'person' in law
    • disembodied notions of human subjectivity
    • human dignity
    • theories of racialized and sexualized bodies

    Topics may include:

    • bioethics (ethics and governance in medical research on human subjects)
    • debates about non-corporeality of rights and harms (such as autonomy rights, personality rights, and the privacy rights of data subjects)
    • debates about physical punishments (the death penalty, imprisonment, chemical castration and their history)
    • health law (legal and ethical issues in health-care regulation, informed consent and right to access medical care; regulation of human reproduction and end-of-life care and decision-making)
    • legal regimes governing dead bodies and body parts (such as organ donation)
    • personal injury law (such as compensation for pain and suffering, mental distress, as well as quantifying physical injuries)
    • the role of concepts of human development and abilities in the law (such as age of consent, mental disabilities)
  • LGLS 4040U – Law and the Environment

    This course will consider aspects of environmental law in the context of studying legal, theoretical and socio-cultural approaches to the ecology, the environment and environmental protection. This course will analyze legal and socio-cultural conceptions of ecology and the environment, asking how these concepts are constructed and how they are mobilized within law by a range of groups, such as social movements, indigenous peoples, governments, natural resource developers and others. Topics may include:

    • analysis of legal environmental doctrine such as environmental assessment regimes
    • environmental regulation and protection
    • environmental rights and international approaches in environmental protection
  • LGLS 4050U – Impartiality, Neutrality and Objectivity

    This course examines the challenge of judging in diverse cultural, religious and ethnic contexts. Students will investigate the normative assumptions that underlie competing theories of judicial reasoning, drawing upon key insights of theoretical approaches such as feminist legal theory and postmodern and critical legal studies movements. The course will focus in particular on the role assigned to the concepts of impartiality, neutrality and objectivity in rival accounts of the activity of judging.

  • LGLS 4060U – Security and the Nation-State

    This course introduces participants to 21st-century developments in the law and practice of securitization. Topics may include:

    • border security
    • human security
    • immigration and criminal law measures introduced to combat terrorism and other national security threats
    • national security
    • UN action to counter terrorism

    Students will explore theories of security, as well as practical legislative and political efforts to address security issues, both nationally (including in comparative perspective) and internationally.

  • LGLS 4070U – Public Governance through Law

    This course focuses on the regulatory dimensions of the administrative state and how policy becomes law. Through a series of in-depth case studies, classical concepts in and contemporary theories of public administration are explored. Students will examine principles of social ordering such as legislation, adjudication, contract and negotiation as applied in practice. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills of statutory construction, to widen their knowledge of the institutional and process features of the contemporary administrative state and deepen their understanding of contemporary governance challenges and the ways in which law may be drawn upon to meet such challenges.

  • LGLS 4099U – Legal Studies Integrating Project

    This course is designed to allow students to participate in an upper-level research seminar in legal studies. Emphasis will be placed on student participation in all aspects of the course. Student participation will include class presentations, class discussions, scheduled and routine meetings with the instructor, and several written assignments that will contribute to the development of the research project. Students will be expected to demonstrate an advanced level of understanding based on their previous course work in this program.

  • LGLS 4200U – Law and Social Change

    This capstone course addresses the interplay between law, law-making and social change. It asks students to use the theoretical and conceptual insights of prior courses to think critically about the possibilities and limits of law as a mechanism of social change.

  • LGLS 4800U – Independent Study

    The course provides students with the opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of a specific topic within the discipline. This will involve individual reading and scholarship at an advanced level under faculty supervision. Students will conduct an extensive literature review and write a major essay/critique of the relevant literature. Instructor and dean’s consent required. Limited seats available.


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