CRIM 2261

Criminal Law

3.0 Credits


This course is designed to give students an understanding of Canadian criminal law. The course will begin with a review of the sources of criminal law and how criminal law operates within the structure of the justice system. Students will be introduced to the role of criminal law in society through a discussion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and recent cases. This will be followed by a thorough examination of the principles of substantive Canadian criminal law. The substantive criminal law will be explained and examined by the use of the case method. General principles of law will be discussed in the context of specific cases decided by the courts. Students will be encouraged to consider the law critically, from both an academic and societal perspective.

Delivery Methods

Online, self-paced.


CRIM 1161 is highly recommended.


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

  • Understand and explicate the sources of criminal law
  • Understand and explicate how criminal law in Canada operates within the structure of the justice system
  • Be able to refer to the Criminal Code of Canada to determine the black letter law for a particular criminal act
  • Be able to refer to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it applies to criminal law issues
  • Analyze criminal fact patterns to identify the criminal law issues
  • Understand the current Canadian criminal law relating to issues covered in the course
  • Accurately explain the current Canadian criminal law relating to issues covered in the course
  • Apply the current Canadian criminal law to fact patterns
  • Identify current criminal law issues and challenges for reform

Course Outline

Chapter titles in the book are generally a good indicator of the topics covered in the course. The course is organized into the following lessons:

  • Units 1 and 2: Actus Reus
  • Unit 3: Causation
  • Units 4 and 5: Subjective Liability
  • Unit 6: Objective Liability
  • Unit 7: Regulatory Offences
  • Unit 8: Modes of Participation in Crime and Inchoate Offences
  • Unit 9: Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of a Mental Disorder (NCRMD)
  • Units 10 and 11: Defences to a Criminal Charge
  • Unit 12: Review for Final Examination

Course Duration

30 weeks

Required Text and Materials

Verdun-Jones, Simon N. Criminal Law in Canada. Cases, Questions, and the Code.. 6th ed. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Education, 2015.
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 10: 978-0-17-686459-0

Note: The final exam is an open book exam. However, no digital or electronic resources will be permitted

Note: This text is bundled with Essay Jack Pac which is not required or used in this course.

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

Assignment 1-1 1%
Assignment 1-2 5%
Assignment 2 8%
Assignment 3 8%
Assignment 4 8%
Research Essay 30%
Final Exam * 40%
Total 100%