Instructor(s): Lisa Cirillo, Benjamin Ries

Schedule: Weekly seminar on Mondays (4 7 pm) plus a mandatory Joint Clinic Professionalism Training on Friday, September 21, 2018. Attendance at this session is mandatory to be eligible to participate in the clinic.

Enrollment Notes: This course does not require application.
Enrollment in all the clinics for credit is limited to upper year students. Exchange Students are not eligible to participate in clinics.

Enrolling in a DLS clinic is a serious commitment. Once enrolment is confirmed, students will require permission from the Faculty to withdraw.

Course Description:
This part-time, full-year clinical education program offers students the opportunity to explore legal principles and social policy issues in an empirical, public interest context. The program challenges students to examine issues with respect to the many intersections of law and social inequality in a critical way, while at the same time allowing them to develop the professional and ethical literacy which is essential to the practice of law. Through their clinical work, individualized tutorials, substantive training sessions and course seminars, students are provided with the chance to test relationships between legal rules and the realities of the justice process, to investigate the complex legal problems and policy issues which affect low income communities, and to develop a conceptual and empirical understanding of public interest lawyering.

As members of a team that fights to protect and extend the rights of students and low-income persons who do not own their housing, students in the Housing Law Clinic will have the opportunity to help tenants and/or co-op members resolve legal disputes with their housing providers, including: evictions; maintenance and repair problems; harassment, and discrimination. The casework will include client counseling; case theory formulation; drafting applications; preparing for hearings; litigation strategy; negotiating with opposing counsel; and conducting hearings where possible and/or necessary.

Students in the Housing Law Clinic regularly appear before the Landlord and Tenant Board to conduct hearings and participate in mediations. The same students also appear before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Small Claims Court in a variety of proceedings that include settlement conferences, motions, trials, and enforcement actions. The clinics outreach activities frequently include community organizing work with groups of tenants facing a common legal issue together.

Substantive rental and co-operative housing law builds on principles of contract, property, and tort law introduced in first year, but in a way that is relevant to the approximately one-half of Torontos households (and majority of post-secondary students) who do not own their homes. Students will be required to examine the private and public law mechanisms that cause homelessness, while assisting clients for whom homelessness is often a prior experience and/or a future possibility.

Suggested Pre or Co-Requisites: Administrative Law, Evidence Law

The program is conducted at Downtown Legal Services, a community legal clinic operated by the Faculty of Law which provides services to low income people in a number of areas of law. In addition to the casework described above, students will participate in weekly education sessions throughout the term. These sessions will include substantive legal training, case rounds and multi-disciplinary seminars. Credit students are also required to participate in the clinics community outreach program and to write a series of short reflective papers.

Attendance at all seminars and training sessions is mandatory. Students are expected to read the materials and participate in discussions. While we strive to make the overall workload of the clinic comparable to a course of similar weight, the clinic involves real case work, with deadlines that are not always within our control. It also involves serious commitments to clients who are dealing with significant legal issues. In this sense, the clinic requires a commitment beyond what is normally expected in an academic seminar. The credit weighting of this course is designed to reflect this additional commitment.

This course is graded on an HH/H/P/LP/F basis. Students will be required to produce regular written work related to their cases, as well as a series of short (4-6 pages) reflective journals, due at fixed intervals during the year. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their clinical (casework and outreach activities) work (60%), their reflective papers (20%) and their attendance and participation in seminars (20%).
Credit note
8 credits (4 credits allocated in each term).

At a Glance

Both Terms


10 JD


First Term Schedule:
M: 4:10 - 7:00
Second Term Schedule: (M: 4:10 - 7:00
655 Spadina Avenue