Instructor(s): Ian Lee

For graduate students, the course number is LAW2019H.

Note: The Quercus program will be used for this course. Students must self-enrol in Quercus as soon as confirmed in the course in order to obtain course information.

This seminar examines the implications of the large business corporation for the traditional understanding of public law as concerned with the relationship between individuals and the State.

How do corporations fit into the traditional picture, or do they require its modification? Does the legal personality of corporations entail that the law should generally treat them as if they were individuals? Alternatively, is the law, despite corporations legal personality, concerned in reality with the rights and responsibilities of the individuals behind the corporate veil such as executives, employees and investors? Still another possible approach is to view corporations as powerful institutions in their own right, and perhaps even as analogues of the State, rather than as if they were individuals or mere associations of individuals.

We will explore these themes through readings on the following topics, among others:
(1) corporate criminal responsibility,
(2) corporate standing to invoke rights under the Charter,
(3) corporations and the political process,
(4) issues concerning transnational corporations,
(5) delivery of public services by corporations, and
(6) democracy and the internal governance of corporations.

One 3,500-4,000 word final paper (60%) together with four short papers (10% each). The final paper can be an essay on a topic relating to one or more themes of the course, a case comment (on a recent case relevant to those themes) or a book review essay (of a recently published book relevant to the course). Short papers will be 900-1,000 words each and will require discussion of the course materials. Students may fulfill the Perspective requirement in this course.

At a Glance

First Term
Perspective course


19 JD


W: 10:30 - 12:20