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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

  • 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

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

Required text and materials

Students will need to source the following on their own:

  1. Boyd, N. (2018) Canadian Law: An Introduction, (7th ed.). Nelson Education. 
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-17-672442-9 / 978177412596-0


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 mandatory Final Exam. 

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%
Mandatory Final Exam 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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