LXS111 - Introduction to the Legal System

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-09 08:53:38.735
Last review date 2018-07-09 08:53:38.736

Subject Title
Introduction to the Legal System

Subject Description
This subject introduces students to important elements of the Canadian legal system. Topics include an introduction to the nature of law, the sources of law, the legal system, the court system, the legal professions, the Canadian Constitution, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Credit Status
This is a credit subject applicable to the Seneca Law Clerk Diploma Program offered through the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Describe the nature of law as a social institution, including an appreciation of its limits.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of the Canadian government/political system and how the legal system operates within the federal system of government.

3. Identify the components of the common law system and demonstrate an understanding as to how common and civil law systems differ.

4. Compare and contrast the components of private and public law, procedural and substantive law, and develop a general knowledge of the various fields of law.

5. Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of the Canadian Court system including the jurisdictional boundaries among the courts.

6. Interpret and apply substantive knowledge of the Canadian Constitution and the rights set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

7. Identify the various sources of common law and demonstrate an understanding of how the various sources interact and are applied.

8. Describe the adversary system and alternative dispute resolution methods.

9. Discuss the main sources of law regulating business organizations in Canada and identify the advantages and disadvantages associated with each kind of business organization.

10. Discuss the differences between real property and personal property and differentiate between the various estates and interests in land.

11. Identify the most important Ontario and Federal consumer protection legislation as well as the laws and regulations governing collection agencies.

12. Explain principal concepts dealing with intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at student.conduct@senecacollege.ca.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Completion of or Placement in COM101

It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites, as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Course content and your instructor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advanced standing for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

Topic Outline

  • Legal terminology, sources of law and the concept of law
  • The structure of the Canadian Government and systems of law
  • Property law I (real property and mortgages)
  • Property law II (intellectual property, negotiable instrument)
  • Consumer law (provincial and federal consumer protection legislation)
  • The Ontario Court system
  • Business law (sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations)
  • The concept of jurisdiction
  • Introduction of the Canadian Constitution
  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Mode of Instruction
Students learn through classroom lectures, discussion and group problem solving. Any matters covered in class and/or in the assigned readings will constitute part of the course content and be eligible for inclusion on all assessments. It is ESSENTIAL that students read assigned material before class and make careful notes on the reading material as well as in-class lectures and discussion. It is extremely important for students to be prepared for class and to be actively involved in discussions as this greatly aids the learning process.  

It is your responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on Blackboard or in class. Students will not be able to access Blackboard as of the last day of the student's class.

Prescribed Texts
John Fairlie, Philip Sworden Introductio to Law in Canada. Toronto: Higher Education Law School Professional, 2014 ISBN#978-1-55239-375-8

Reference Material
Dukelow and Nuse, Pocket Dictionary of Canadian Law. Toronto: Carswell, Latest Edition.

Required Supplies
Notebook or three-ring binder, paper, pens, highlighter and above texts

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online (http://www.senecacollege.ca/academic-policy) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Grading is based on the following marking scheme: 

Team Assignment 35%
Test 35%
Final Exam 30%

Some aids may be allowed during testing and will be identified by the instructor.
Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

Please Note
  • Assignments, tests and the final examination are evaluated on course knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject matters. 
  • In recognition of the significance of proper language skills in the work of a Law Clerk, marks are deducted, in accordance with departmental policy, for language errors on all tests, assignments and exams. (i.e. spelling, grammar, word usage, sentence, and paragraph structure, etc.) 

  • The student must retain a copy of all assignments.
  • If assignments are handed in late without sufficient medical or other reason, which must be documented and approved, two marks per day will be deducted for each day the assignment is late up to a maximum of 10 marks in total. 
  • Assignments will not be accepted after the return of graded assignments to the class and/or the provision to the class of the answers to the assignment.
  • Written assignments must be word processed. At the professor’s discretion, assignments that are not word processed, may be subject to mark deduction or not accepted. 
  • For particulars, please obtain standards, dates, etc. from your instructor.

Absenteeism and Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor prior to the next scheduled class. If your reason is accepted, you will be permitted to write a make-up test. Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test. You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence, or other appropriate documentation.

Field Placement Requirements

Students who do not successfully complete all professional courses may not be eligible for placement. 

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours. When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination+-. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three terms. For further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website: http://library.senecacollege.ca/Academic_Honesty/

Please Note: In the Law Clerk Diploma Program, in accordance with graduation requirements, students are required to complete Twenty (20) days of field placement. Students must  achieve an average net keyboarding speed of at least 50 nwpm on three five-minute timed writings, with five errors or less.

Approved by: Sandra Noble