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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

BLAW 2921: Law for Public Sector Managers

Students study the key aspects of Canadian law and the legal institutions of relevance to public sector managers. Topics include the role of law in public sector management; constitutional law; organization of the courts; alternative dispute resolutions; administrative law; human rights law; statutes and their interpretation; administrative law and natural justice; administrative law and advocating before administrative tribunals; administrative law and challenging decisions; freedom of information and privacy; technology and the law; and public sector ethics.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the significance of the rule of law in the Canadian legal system
  • Apply formal rules to interpret legislation
  • Describe the elements of the Canadian constitution and identify government jurisdiction for specific topics
  • Determine whether particular situations are contrary to human rights law
  • Analyse the role of the judge in delivering justice and compare it with the role of an adjudicator sitting on an administrative tribunal
  • Distinguish between various tools for alternative dispute resolution and identify the interests of parties to a mediation
  • Determine which tribunal has jurisdiction to decide a matter and identify possible limitations to that jurisdiction
  • Explain the meaning of natural justice in an administrative law context and identify circumstances which would be contrary to natural justice
  • Determine the grounds on which a particular administrative decision could be reviewed by the courts, and have some understanding of the principle of deference of judges to the decisions of certain tribunals
  • Prepare two collaborative checklists - one for public service managers to consider for a hearing before a tribunal, and one for petitioners who are arguing against an administrative decision
  • Apply ethical principles to particular fact patterns and identify emerging issues in public sector law
  • Summarize arguments in support or in defence of an application to an administrative tribunal

Course topics

  1. What is Law and the Role of Law in Public Sector Management
  2. Constitutional Law
  3. Solving Legal Problems Part 1 - The Courts
  4. Solving Legal Problems Part 2 - Alternative Dispute Resolution
  5. Solving Legal Problems Part 3 - Introduction to Administrative Law
  6. Human Rights Law
  7. Statutes and their Interpretation
  8. Administrative Law and Natural Justice
  9. Administrative Law - Advocating before Administrative Tribunals
  10. Administrative Law - Challenging Decisions
  11. Selected Issues in Public Sector Law Part 1 - Freedom of Information and Privacy
  12. Selected Issues in Public Sector Law Part 2 - Technology and the Law and Public Sector Ethics

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Nastasi, L., Pressman, D., & Swaigen, J., (2020). Administrative law: Principles and advocacy, (4th ed.). Toronto, ON: Edmond Montgomery.
    Type: Textbook: ISBN: 978-1-77255-502-8.
  1. Fairlie, J. &, Sworden, P. (2019). Introduction to law in Canada, (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Emond Montgomery Publications.
    Type: Textbook: ISBN: 978-1-77255-468-7.

Students will need to purchase the following on their own via the BCCAT website:

  1. Adamic, A., et al., (2016). BC administrative decision-maker’s manual. (“the Manual”) Vancouver, BC: Council of Administrative Tribunals (BCCAT).

Note: The above resource is available to students through Web Access at the following link: (The cost is approximately $50.00)

Special thanks to the BC: Council of Administrative Tribunals (BCCAT) for agreeing to let us use this resource in our course


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Online Quiz 5%
Assignment 1: Statutory Interpretation Exercise 7%
Assignment 2: Limitation Periods, Natural Justice, and Judicial Review 8%
Assignment 3: Case Study-Applying Your Knowledge to a Factual Situation 10%
Critical reflection journal 20%
Final examination (mandatory) 50%
TOTAL 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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