Fall 2023 - POL 151 D100

Justice and Law (3)

Class Number: 3801

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2023
    Wed, 9:29–9:29 a.m.



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 did the courts have a role in deciding whether the Trans-Mountain Pipeline would be expanded? 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 politicians 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 refugee 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. 5% preparation for written assignments) 15%
  • News Story Analysis (with a partner, in tutorial) 10%
  • Written Assignment 1: Think-piece 20%
  • Written Assignment 2: Report on a legal case 20%
  • Final Exam (take-home) 35%


Grading scheme is subject to change in the event of unavoidable interruptions to class or tutorial schedules.     



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.                                   

Legal cases and articles will also be assigned. These will be available on Canvas or online.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

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

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.