Charter Issues in Criminal Law

Course Number
LAW 3590
Course Description

This seminar-based course includes a focus on the legal dynamics of police/civilian encounters through student-led review of the law surrounding detention, arrest, search and seizure and, as time permits, other current and timely matters. The emphasis is on reviewing salient Charter violations and the recent case law. Indigenous issues as they pertain to cases on sentencing (Gladue, Ipeelee), Constitutional exemptions (Chief), representative juries (Fiddler, Kokopenace), and journal papers are also considered. Students will engage in leading seminars, class discussions and writing either a perspectives paper or legal analysis piece (i.e. a memorandum or factum).

Students are encouraged to think critically about the justice system and the integral role lawyers play in delivering ethical and effective legal service.

PREREQUISITE: This course is a prerequisite to 3900 Clinical Elective: Intensive Criminal Law.
Teaching Method

The course is a student-led seminar. Student participation, some group work, and discussion are required.


50 percent final memorandum assignment or perspectives paper.

5 percent attendance: students must sign in each day.

5 percent participation: students must record their own participation using honesty an integrity as a barometer and must hand in a weekly log of their discussions.

40 percent in-class seminar assignment including graded written online seminar answers to be completed by student presenters and posted for the benefit of the entire class. Seminar assignment will contain a series of 10-15 questions to be presented in class and answered in typed form for publication to UMLearn. Half of the grade will be based on leading an in-class seminar of 2-2.5 hours (with breaks). Written answers will be less than 20 pages double spaced inclusive of footnotes, one inch margins all around, times new roman font. Citation should comport with McGill Guide.

Earning Bonus Points: Student who decide to write 2 blogs for posting at that engage course content will be entitled to a bonus of 5 percent on their total grade. Blogs must be 1000 words long exclusive of citations. Citations may be listed at the end using less formal citation methods than McGill Guide if desired (for example APA).

Course Materials

The required material for the course consists of the Criminal Code, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an optional course reader. Required cases will be posted to UMLearn.


John Burchill