Spring 2022 - POL 151 D100

Justice and Law (3)

Class Number: 5033

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    WMC 3520, 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? Why do the courts have a role in deciding if the Trans-Mountain Pipeline is expanded? During the COVID pandemic, how do we balance public health against individual rights? This course will answer these questions by introducing you to the constitutional 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 how politicians interact with the courts. On the one hand, Parliament and the Cabinet oversee the criminal justice system, for example pressing them to address trial delays during the COVID pandemic. On the other hand, the courts enforce limits on what governments can do. 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. Throughout the course, we will focus on recent legal cases, concerning the employment rights of Uber drivers, medically assisted death and immigration policy.

Course Organization:

There will be an in-person 2-hour lecture plus an in-person tutorial, once a week.

Please note that you are expected to submit written assignments to Turnitin.


  • Tutorial Participation (inc. posting on discussion boards) 10%
  • Mid-term 10%
  • News story analysis (with a partner; in tutorial) 10%
  • Written Assignment 1 (Think-piece) 20%
  • Written Assignment 2 (Report on a legal case) 15%
  • Final Exam (take-home) 35%



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

Copies available at the SFU Bookstore, or through its online ordering system.

Plus legal cases and journal articles, available online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.