CRIM 2261: Criminal Law

Students develop an understanding of Canadian criminal law through a review of the sources of criminal law and how criminal law operates within the structure of the justice system. Students study the role of criminal law in society through a discussion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and recent cases, followed by a thorough examination of the principles of substantive Canadian criminal law. Using a case-study approach, students examine principles of law in the context of specific cases decided by the courts. Students consider the law critically, from both an academic and societal perspective.

Learning outcomes

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 topics

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

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

  1. Verdun-Jones, Simon N. (2020). Criminal Law in Canada. Cases, Questions, and the Code. (7th ed.). Nelson.
    Type: Textbook ISBN: 9780176724412

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.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

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: Introduction Blog 1%
Assignment 1-2: Current Events Blog 5%
Assignment 2: Chapter 1 Questions 8%
Assignment 3: Problem Scenario A 8%
Assignment 4: Problem Scenario B 8%
Research Essay 30%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

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.

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