Fall 2019 - CRIM 338 D100

Philosophy of Law (3)

Class Number: 8542

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    SSCK 9500, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Iryna Ponomarenko
  • Prerequisites:

    CRIM 101 and 135.



Introduction to the philosophy of law. Concepts of law, constitution and sovereignty. The nature and sources of the law. Examination of natural law, legal positivism, Kelsen's pure theory of law, legal realism, modern normative and analytical theories, critical legal theory and feminist theory.


The aim of this course is to inquire into and critically explore the philosophical controversies that concern the general nature of law. What is law? What has law to do with morality? Or equality? Or justice? Were Nazi laws binding? Is civil disobedience to be punished? What is the proper role of judges in interpreting the law? This course will offer an advanced introduction to these and other related questions in legal philosophy with a view of arriving at a better understanding of the dominant classical and modern theories of law. The latter include but are not confined to the natural law theory, legal positivism, legal realism, interpretive theories of law, and critical legal studies. Furthermore, throughout this course, our concerns will be with the ways in which different philosophical discourses are brought to bear on particular legal domains, such as criminal liability, contracts, torts, equal treatment, statutory and constitutional interpretation, and stare decisis


  • Tutorial participation 10%
  • Short Papers(2) 20%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Group Presentation 10%
  • Final Exam 35%



1. Michael Freeman, Lloyd’s Introduction to Jurisprudence, 9th ed (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2014).

2. Raymond Wacks, Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory, 5th ed (Oxford University Press, 2017).

3. Additional readings will be available through Canvas or through Library resources

Department Undergraduate Notes:

If you have any Criminology course enrollment requests (course adds, course swaps), please contact a Criminology advisor. Please do not contact instructors for enrollment assistance as they will ultimately refer you to a Criminology advisor.

Criminology course enrollment requests should be sent to a Criminology advisor no later than the last day of the Second week of classes. Late enrollment requests are subject to approval and are not guaranteed. 

Enrollment requests for non-Crim courses should be directed to the advisor for the program offering the course. 

ATTENTION: STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY: Please contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities, (MBC 1250 or Phone 778-782-3112) if you need or require assistance, not your individual instructors.  

  • N.B.: Students are reminded that attendance in the first week of classes is important. However, there are no tutorials in the first week.
  • ON CAMPUS COURSES ONLY: Assignments not submitted to the Professor/T.A. during class/office hours must be placed in the security box behind the General Office (ASSC 10125), or submitted as per Professor’s instructions for courses taking place at Surrey Campus. The assignment drop-off box is emptied Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. only and the contents are date stamped accordingly. No other department’s date stamp will apply (e.g. Library/Campus Security) and the School of Criminology is not responsible for assignments submitted any other way (e.g. slid under office doors). The University does NOT accept assignments by fax. 
  • A student must complete ALL aspects of a course (including assignments, exams, class participation, presentations, chat room components of Distance Education courses and other), otherwise he/she will receive a grade of N. 
  • E-mail policy for on campus courses only: The School of Criminology STRONGLY DISCOURAGES the use of e-mail in lieu of office hour visits. Criminology advises its instructional staff that they are NOT required to respond to student e-mails and that students wishing to confer with them should do so in person during scheduled meeting times.
  • The University has formal policies regarding intellectual dishonesty and grade appeals which may be obtained from the General Office of the School of Criminology.
  • Under GP18, the University has policies and procedures which respond to our obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment for the students, staff and faculty of this institution.  Members of this community have an affirmative obligation to safeguard the human rights of others.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html