Laverne Jacobs, PhD
What is judicial review of administrative action? This course examines the concept of administrative action as well as the underlying tensions involved in holding governmental administrative actors accountable through the courts. Students will develop an understanding of how administrative tribunals and agencies function on the ground through an examination of select statutory regimes. We will reflect on the traditional common law approaches to judicial review (eg. prerogative writs, jurisdictional error, abuse of discretion, rules of natural justice, bias, errors of fact and law etc.) . We will also examine the degree to which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms acts as a driver of judicial review in contemporary Canadian administrative law. Students will be given the opportunity to consider the concept of judicial review more broadly, by reflecting on the doctrine of judicial review on private law grounds (tort and contractual liability of public officials), actions against the Crown and global administrative law. By the end of the course, students will have knowledge of the practical tools used in administrative law, including enabling legislation, the Statutory Powers and Procedure Act, the Judicial Review Procedure Act and the Federal Courts Act, and will have had a chance to understand "judicial review" from both its narrow and wider conceptions as a form of government accountability.
This seminar examines the concept of civil liberties both from the perspective of guaranteed human rights and freedoms and in relation to the on-the-ground issues of access to justice that these legal avenues pose. Objectives of the course include: defining "civil liberties"; understanding, comparatively, the protection of civil liberties in various jurisdictions including Canada and the United States; and analyzing individual and collective challenges to protecting human rights and freedoms. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the US Bill of Rights and various other domestic human rights legislation will be examined. Particular topics such as national security, privacy, access to health care, homelessness, poverty, equality, religious and cultural pluralism, historical injustice, and the liability of government authorities will be discussed. Through a major essay, students will have the chance to explore a civil liberties topic of interest chosen in consultation with the professor. They will also have the opportunity to present their research at a student symposium designed for this purpose.
This seminar focuses on various legal approaches to combating disability discrimination and effecting social change. The role of the law as a tool to create accessibility standards, provide international and domestic rights protection and offer avenues of administrative action through responsive regulation will be examined. An exploration of the effects of international movements to raise the living conditions of persons with disabilities at both global and local levels constitutes a central theme. Topics explored include the "right to die" controversy, sterilization and reproductive rights, barriers to education, social assistance, workplace accommodation, autism and participatory rights for ensuring public policy engagement. An interdisciplinary course, Law, Disability & Social Change introduces students to material drawn from critical disability studies, law and political theory, engaging students in a comparative and transnational assessment of law's potential for achieving social justice for persons with disabilities.
A general introduction to the Canadian Constitution, with particular emphasis on federalism and the Charter of Rights. Topics include the nature of a constitution, constitutional history, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, legislative process, rule of law, the concept and process of judicial review of legislation, principles of federalism, introduction to division of powers and constitutional amendment. Discussion of the Charter of Rights will focus on the nature of constitutional protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, mobility rights, equality rights, group rights and enforcement of the Charter.
The Laskin Moot is a national competition in the areas of constitutional and administrative law. The moot is named in honour of the late Chief Justice Bora Laskin. Participating teams from 15-20 Canadian law schools are invited to argue a fictitious problem before the “Canadian Court of Justice”. The subject matter of the problem is always a timely issue of constitutional and administrative law that falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Canada. The competition is held in late February or early March in a different Canadian city each year.
The Laskin is a bilingual moot competition: each team must have at least one member who will present his or her oral and written arguments in French. Although it is not necessary that all four members of the team be bilingual, knowledge of French is an asset.
The 2010 Laskin problem concerned a Charter challenge to the Citizenship Act's requirement that individuals swear or affirm an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen in order to obtain Canadian citizenship. The applicants sought a declaration that the requirement violated their rights to freedom of conscience and expression. The problem in 2011 dealt with the constitutional validity of the federal regime dealing with Competition Law. The 2011 Windsor Law Laskin team won fourth place for their factum.
Please check the G.O. for information on applying for the next competition. (4 credits.)