4U Law

Course Overview

Course Description:

The 4U Law course will contribute towards providing students with the sophisticated understanding and broad skills needed for full participation in our complex, modern society. Students will analyze the Canadian Legal system and codes in order to understand how these reflect our society's goals, values, and how they affect Canadians both inside and outside our borders. The Constitution Act of 1982, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Criminal Code of Canada, the Young Offenders Act, the Sale of Goods Act, and the Highway Traffic Act are just a few of the documents that will be analyzed within this course. As law is primarily concerned with the resolution of human issues and problems, the course is an excellent vehicle for extending and enhancing thinking skills that can then be applied to other areas of learning and personal experience. International law, the World Court, and the United Nations, as well as such topics as world resources and environmental controls, will also be explored.


Canadian and International Law,
Oxford University Press,
Blair, Elliott, Manning, & Mossuto
ISBN: 0-19-542047-0

Course Web Site:


Units and Topics Covered:

Field Study Project

Unit #1: The History & Nature of Law

Unit # 2: Criminal Adjudication

Project: Mock Trial

Unit #3: International Law and Dispute Resolution

Unit #4: Human Rights and Freedoms

Civic Engagement Project

Mark Breakdown:

See the term's summative mark profile.

Assessment Styles:

Three Styles of Assessment
Assessment Styles

Assessment FOR Learning:

Assessment that is intended to provide students the opportunity to apply their learning. This assessment is formative in nature: providing both the student and the teacher with insight into the learning that is taking place. This assessment does not count toward the student's grade.

Goal(s): To allow students to practice skills and apply knowledge, and to guide the next steps for intstruction and learning.

Examples: formative quizzes, exercises, and presentations.

Assessment AS Learning:

Assessment that is intended to provide students the opportunity to reflect upon their learning. This assessment is formative in nature: providing both the student and the teacher with insight into the student's own reflection upon his/her learning. This assessment does not count toward the student's grade.

Goal(s): To develop student metacognition. In other words, to give students insight into their own thinking and learning and to help students develop and refine strategies to use in future learning.

Examples: reflective journals, exit cards.

Assessment OF Learning:

Assessment that is intended to depict a student's level of achievment at a given point in time. This assessment is summative in nature, and thus will count toward the student's grade.

Goal(s): To provide the student with a mark that will inform the student and other interested parties of the student's relative achievment with respect to the course curriculum.

Examples: summative quizzes, tests, essays, reports, labs, and presentations.


Testing Philosophy:

Bear in mind that any test in this course will attempt to evaluate the student's understanding of the topics and issues within a given unit. Although memorization of any facts or details involved will often be essential for a correct answer, memorization is not all that is required. Questions are not often designed to allow the student to recite a class note in the appropriate place, but rather to apply the knowledge contained within a note in a new and often abstract manner.

A student's opinion on a topic or issue will be given due consideration, but will be considered of little value if it is not supported by fact. Opinions are expected to take the information learned within the course into consideration - not to replace this information.

Furthermore, the course instructor will not assume any understanding, guess any meaning, or extrapolate any points which are not clearly stated within a student's answer.

Finally, an answer which contains any particular word or phrase which, by way of coincidence, is a word or phrase associated with the correct answer will not automatically receive a mark. Answers are graded by the virtue of their meaning - not by the vocabulary they may contain.

Course Policies and Guidelines:

Assignments and Projects:

1. i. Late assignments will be penalized 5% per day, up to a maximum of 25%.

    ii. For example, an essay valued at 75% but two days late will be returned with a mark of 65%.

    iii. A day will be understood to be a 24 hour period, and not the gap between two classes, which is in fact two days and worth a 10% penalty.

    iv. Weekends will count as one day.

    v. Late penalties can be avoided in some circumstances if an extension is granted. Extensions on assignment due dates can be granted if the student submits an extension application form at least four days in advance of the due date. Please Note: Completion of this form is by no means a guarantee of an extension. The application must be reviewed and accepted by the course instructor before the extension is granted. Students should note that an extension application must be sponsored by an individual who can corroborate the student's need for an extension. For example, a health issue should be sponsored by a physician or guardian. The sponsor's name, signature, and phone number must be provided. It should also be noted that an extension is not considered to be in force until such time as the application form has been completed, submitted, and approved by the course instructor.

    vi. Once a case study has been taken up in class, late cases are no longer eligible for submission. Case studies are problem solving questions - they involve far more analyses than writing. There is a vast difference between actually doing the problem, and simply copying the answer in class. Therefore, awarding a grade for a copied solution would not provide a valid assessment of the student's ability or effort.

2. Emailed assignments are not accepted or acknowledged. Obviously I am an advocate for the use of I.T. in education. However, I have been forced to adopt this policy for the following reasons:

    i. In my experience, allowing students to email assignments after the school day has only resulted in an increase in late assignments.

    ii. Email is inherently unreliable.

    iii. If an allegedly emailed assignment is not received, then I have no way of confirming whether it was in fact sent. Yet, students often insist on placing this burden on me. Thus, I am left with only the student's word on the topic. I do not appreciate being placed in a position where students ask me to make judgment calls based solely on my perception of their character. Nor do I appreciate students requesting that I interview their various friends and relations who might be willing to vouch for the fact that a given assignment was completed on time. This places me in the position of conducting some form of investigation and holding a quasi-trial for every late assignment that I might receive.

3. All work must be neat and accurate, typing or word processing of major assignments is strongly encouraged.

4. i. All borrowed information must be properly documented using an accepted procedure, i.e. footnoting, end noting, etc. Plagiarism is an offence and will result in an automatic grade of zero for the assignment.

    ii.  Any work that is copied from another student and presented as one's own will be considered to be a case of plagiarism, and as such the assignment in question will receive a grade of zero.

5. Spelling and grammar will be figured into the grade of every written assignment (up to a maximum of 20% of the mark). There is no substitute for a well written paper.

Tests and Exams:

6. a) All students are expected to write tests on the set date. If a student must miss a test day, then the onus is placed on the student to let me know well in advance, and to arrange for an alternate time to take the test.

6. b) Fair Word of Warning: In the case of a rewrite, students are cautioned to not assume that their test will be the same as the test given out on the original test date. Contrary to popular belief, students who write tests at later dates often end up doing worse than usual. I believe this happens because students who write late cannot help but hear about the questions that were on the test, and then they naturally focus on preparing for those particular questions. These students can at times be devastated to find that the questions on the later test are different than the questions that were on the original test.

7. If the student misses a test day without letting me know in advance, then only a doctor's note can allow the student to make up the test.

8. If the student misses a test and yet is found to be in attendance on the day in question, an automatic zero will be awarded for the test mark.

9. If the student is found to have cheated on a test, an automatic zero will be awarded for the test mark.

Class Work Ethic:

10. Students are expected to be in class and ready to work by the beginning of the period.

11. Participation in class activities and discussions is strongly encouraged.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Professional judgement, as defined in Growing Success (2010) is “judgement that is informed by professional knowledge of curriculum expectations, context, evidence of learning, methods of instruction and assessment, and the criteria and standards that indicate success in student learning. In professional practice, judgement involves a purposeful and systematic thinking process that evolves in terms of accuracy and insight with ongoing reflection, self-correction and consideration all evidence collected (formative and summative) relating to a student’s learning. (pg. 152).

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