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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CRIM 1161: The Canadian Legal System

This course focuses on the history, development and present day operation of the Canadian legal system. The topics that will be examined include: constitutional law; criminal, contract and tort law; human rights; administrative law; the court system; the functions of judges and lawyers; and the basic elements of legal reasoning.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Define the role of law in society
  • Describe perspectives of law
  • Identify legal sources and conduct legal research
  • Describe the historical sources of Canadian law
  • Identify the divisions or branches of law in Canada
  • Describe interpretation of ambiguous statutes
  • Describe the development of the Canadian Constitution
  • Identify provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Discuss the structure of the court system in Canada
  • Describe the adversarial system and alternative dispute resolution models
  • Discuss legal reasoning and the application of precedent
  • Describe how lawyers are educated and trained and how judges are appointed
  • Describe the main elements of tort law, contract law, family law and criminal law
  • Define administrative law and the function and review of administrative tribunals

Course topics

CRIM 1161, The Canadian Legal System includes the following 13 units. Some units will include additional readings that supplement the material in the textbook.

  • Unit 1: The Role of Law in Society and Legal Perspectives (Chapter 1)
  • Unit 2: Historical Sources of Law (Chapter 2)
  • Unit 3: Modern Sources of Canadian Law and Introduction to Legal Research (Chapter 2)
  • Unit 4: Classifications (Divisions) of Law (Chapter 2)
  • Unit 5: Interpreting Ambiguous Statutes (Chapter 3)
  • Unit 6: The Development of the 1867 Constitution and Amendments (Chapter 4)
  • Unit 7: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Chapter 4)
  • Unit 8: The Canadian Court System (Chapter 5)
  • Unit 9: Lawyers and the Practice of Law, Judges and Their Roles (Chapter 6)
  • Unit 10: Tort and Contract Law (Chapter 7)
  • Unit 11: Family Law (Chapter 8)
  • Unit 12: Administrative Law (Chapter 9)
  • Unit 13: Criminal Law (Chapter 10)

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

Boyd, N. Canadian Law: An Introduction, 7th edition Toronto, ON: Nelson Education, (2018).
Type: Textbook ISBN: 978-0-17-672442-9


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, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Your final grade for the course is determined on the following basis:

Assignment 1: Canadian Legal System: Legal Research Citations 8%
Assignment 2: Statutory Interpretation & the Canadian Constitution 10%
Assignment 3: The Role of Lawyers and Judges 10%
Assignment 4: Private Law – Tort, Contract, and Family Law 10%
Assignment 5 : Public Law – Administrative and Criminal Law 12%
Final Exam (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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