CRIM 1161

The Canadian Legal System

3.0 Credits


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.

Delivery Methods

Web, self-paced.




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 Outline

CRIM 1161, Introduction to 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)

Course Duration

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

Boyd, N. Canadian Law: An Introduction. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education, (2015).
Textbook, ISBN: 978-0-17-653169-0.


Boyd, N. Canadian Law: An Introduction. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education, (2015).
Textbook bundle, ISBN:0-176-86460-1 (this books is bundled with EssayJack Pac which is not required or used in this course).

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet access.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the "mail" tool in the Learning Environment or by phone. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


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 8%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Assignment 5 12%
Final Exam * 50%
Total 100%

* Mandatory