Spring 2020 - POL 151 D100

Justice and Law (3)

Class Number: 5175

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3181, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



The development of laws and their application to the citizen and social groups. Special consideration will be given to civil liberties. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Course Description:

Why does Canada have a medically-assisted death program? When can Parliament impose mandatory minimum sentences for criminal offences? Why do the courts have a role in deciding if the Trans-Mountain Pipeline is expanded? This course will answer these questions by introducing you to the legal system in Canada, and the influence that the courts have over government policy. We will start by learning the structure of the court system, and the role of judges. In the second part of the course we will focus on the basics of the criminal law, focusing on how a criminal trial is structured and criminal sentencing. In the final part of the course we will examine how the courts fit into the wider Canadian political system. We will see how judges act as umpires in disputes between the federal and provincial governments. We will also learn about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, asking how effective courts are at protecting individuals’ rights against the state. In particular, we will focus on recent cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, concerning medically-assisted death, mandatory minimum sentences, and the Insite safe injection site in Vancouver.

There will be a 2 hour lecture plus a tutorial once a week.  Tutorials start in Week Two.


  • Tutorial Presentation 10%
  • Mid-term 10%
  • Group presentation in tutorial 10%
  • Written Assignment 1 (Think-piece) 20%
  • Written Assignment 2 (Report on a legal case) 15%
  • Final Exam 35%



Hausegger, Lori, Matthew Hennigar and Troy Riddell. (2015). Canadian Courts: Law, Politics and Process 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 9780199002498   Available at the SFU Bookstore.
ISBN: 9780199002498

Plus legal cases and journal articles, available online (see syllabus).

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

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