For graduate students, the course number is LAW7589HF.

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

This course focuses on the building-blocks for successful constitutional advocacy – on behalf of a rights-claimant, government, or a pro bono public interest intervener.

Classes, assignments and visiting experts will inculcate the skills necessary to produce clear, succinct and persuasive argumentation, both oral and written. Class time will be devoted to examination of case studies of best/worst practices, demonstrations by leading practitioners, and individual and group simulation exercises. The course will focus on a number of topics, including the difference purposes of written and oral argument; turning assertions into arguments; building an integrated structure of argument; optimal use of adjudicative and social facts as well as legislative history; creating the appropriate courtroom persona; crafting effective opening and closing statements; and maximizing the effectiveness of responses to judges’ questions.

1) Term work (50%) that involves: a) Attendance at all classes, other than exceptional situations with prior notice to the instructor (10%); b) class preparation 20% (10% for case studies: Analytic assessment of assigned readings (facta, judgments, and/or secondary material) and webcasts of oral arguments as basis for active and critical engagement in class discussion; and 10% for class simulations: preparation of short written arguments, outlines of oral argument, or answers to judges’ questions (to be submitted before class) - 500 word maximum); and c) Active participation in class 20% (10% contributions to class discussions; 5% “on call” or for a particular class; and 5% introduction to class discussion on particular factum or segment of oral argument in a major case study. 2) Final project (50%): This project can be done individually, in pairs or quartets. It can take a number of forms, e.g., a full factum or preparation of an oral argument, an exchange of factums, and/or an opportunity to do an oral argument or adjudicate an oral argument. It can also take the form of a case study of the written and/or oral argument in a Supreme Court of Canada case, based on the facta submitted and video recordings of the oral argument. Six students will be able to fulfil their final project requirement by working on a practicum.

At a Glance

First Term



20 JD


T: 4:10 - 7:00