Judiciary and the Charter

Week 6

Class coordinators

Eliza Bruce, William Campbell


Under the heading of the judiciary, we will consider the functions of adjudication, categories of law, court structures, the role of the supreme court, and the role and appointment of judges. Moving on to the Charter, we should understand how Charter rights and freedoms evolved, the contents of the Charter, especially “reasonable limits” and “notwithstanding”, and the implications of the Charter for political life.

Note that the end of this week may also be the deadline for Assignment 2, and next week is the recommended submission date for a research proposal (QADOR) for Assignment 3. This is a good time to plan out your research and search for sources that will help you to answer the question you plan to ask.

Learning objectives

Understand the interaction of the judiciary and Charter with Canadian political life. The class may want to pay particular attention to the interaction with military justice.

Key terms: Rule of Law, Adjudication, Types of Legal Systems (Common /Civil), Supreme Court, Judicial Review, Legislative Supremacy, Charter of Rights & Freedoms, Reasonable Limits, Oakes Test, Notwithstanding Clause

Required reading

  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 19
  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 24


Weekly activities can be adjusted by class coordinators in consultation with the professor
Week 6 checklist of material

[1] Introduction from class coordinator – time allocation
[2] Current events of political significance (domestic, international) [60s]
[3] Review/amend focus of learning objectives [5D]
[4] Key terms [5D, GLI]
[5] Critical Approaches and Studying Politics [5D, GLI]
[6] External resources [class coordinator]
[7] Exam questions [5D, GLI]
[8] Looking ahead: next week’s class coordinator introduces (last 15 minutes)

Suggested resources

Presentation – Judiciary
Law-CODP Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics
Tyranny of the Majority-CODP
Centre for Military Legal Education (RMCC)

Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

Judicial activism?

Elizabeth Hinton (2016) From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The making of mass incarceration in America. Harvard University Press
Comparing crime statistics in Canada and the US
Incarceration in the US in comparative perspective

Next up

Federalism and the constitution.  We might take a more historical approach, and focus on the evolution of federalism, or a contemporary approach and consider immediate issues like interprovincial trade.