Introduction to the Study of Law. Professors Lisa Dufraimont and Erik Knutsen (2014)

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1 Introduction to the Study of Law Professors Lisa Dufraimont and Erik Knutsen (2014)

2 What is Law? A body of rules and principles Laws governs conduct and can be enforced Laws bind individuals e.g., an offender can be punished through criminal law, or a tradesperson may owe damages for breaching a contract Laws also bind institutions e.g., a government may be required to act (or refrain from acting)

3 Substance vs. Procedure Substantive Law governs rights and obligations in the world property, torts, contracts criminal law family law corporate law Procedural Law governs legal processes how a case moves through the courts civil procedure criminal procedure evidence

4 Public vs. Private (Civil) Law Public Law Private (Civil) Law individual s rights with the state rights between individuals criminal law tort law constitutional law contract law administrative law property law

5 Private and Public Wrongs Civil Wrongs Torts Criminal Offences private (2 individuals) public (state vs. individual) goal is to compensate goal is to punish and deter proof: balance of proof: beyond a reasonable probabilities doubt 6 jurors 12 jurors plaintiff vs. defendant prosecutor vs. accused

6 Example: Lac Mégantic

7 Learning the Law case method: stare decisis (like cases decided alike) precedent participation skills the point methodology process, not rules note taking and active listening

8 Learning the Law in Class come prepared (read, digested, ready to participate) cases will be discussed in your classes the material in the cases are the means through which the lawyers thinking process evolves often not just about getting the rule about how do I use these materials as a lawyer? (analysis and analogic reasoning)

9 How to Read A Case 1. Who are the parties? 2. Court, Jurisdiction and Date of Decision When and where was it heard? Trial or appeal court? 3. Procedural History What happened before? Trial or appeal? 4. Material facts (what happened?) The facts that are necessary to apply to the legal rule 5. Issues (what is the dispute about?) 6. Legal rule applied or created by the court 7. Holding (what did the court decide? Who won? Any dissent?) 8. Reasoning (why did the court reach its decision?)

10 The Canadian Legal System (a quick trip)

11 Courtroom Characters Civil Action Criminal Case Plaintiff Defendant Lawyers: advocate for one party inform Court about facts AND law Judge Jury (sometimes) Witnesses speak to what happened The Queen Accused person Crown prosecutor: represents public Defence lawyer: advocates for accused Judge Jury (sometimes) Witnesses victim may be one

12 Sources of Law 1. Constitution (and Charter) 2. Legislation federal provincial 3. Case law interpreting the Constitution interpreting legislation common law

13 Supreme Court of Canada Court of Appeal for Ontario Federal Court of Appeal Ontario Divisional Court Ontario Superior Court of Justice Ontario Court of Justice Federal Court (Trial Division) Government Agency Decision

14 Weight of Law 1. Legislation 2. Supreme Court of Canada 3. Ontario Court of Appeal 4. Ontario Divisional Court Binding Binding or Degree of Persuasiveness 5. Ontario Superior Court 6. Decisions from other Canadian provinces 7. Foreign decisions Persuasive Only

15 Civility, Collegiality, and Respect important values of litigators my Friend, gowns sense of decorum in court duty to inform the Court of the law (even that law not helpful to your case) no duty to inform the Court of unfavourable facts guided by Rules of Professional Conduct Law Society of Upper Canada

16 Dos and Don ts of Succeeding in Law School Don t be distracted by competition work with others you will all benefit there is room for everyone to succeed the grade curve will take care of itself Do think for yourself be skeptical of law school rumours about what professors or employers want learn to exercise your own judgment

17 Dos and Don ts of Succeeding in Law School Do work hard, and consistently Do try to be engaged, interested, curious, even excited about law Do become actively involved in the life of the school Do know the law and have an opinion and know the difference

18 Legal Analysis and Legal Reasoning the fundamental law school skill; case analogy : compare and contrast facts and law how will a principle derived from a case (or set of cases) prompt a future court to react? how is your case distinguishable from opposing counsel s use of the same case? (remember: opposing parties will be trying to rely on the same case but to get opposite results!) make your reasoning/thinking crystal clear. most important to explain why a case is applicable.

19 Who Are Your Professors? legal academics; teaching (40%), research (40%), service (20%); explore the boundaries of law through: academic research (publications), presentations; lawyer, judicial, and community education; pro bono work.

20 Enjoy Law School!

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