Instructor(s): Robert J. Sharpe

For graduate students, the course number is LAW7101HS.

Course Location: Please see the "Intensive Course Schedule" under Schedules and Timetables

Note: Students may enroll in an intensive course that conflicts with a regular course as an exception to the general rule that students may not take courses which conflict on the timetable. Attendance at intensive courses is mandatory for the duration of the course and takes precedence over regular courses.

This seminar will examine judicial decision-making from the perspective of an appellate judge. Topics covered will include: the role of the judge a lawmaker; the use of rules, principles and policies in judicial decision-making; the balance to be struck between certainty and flexibility in crafting legal rules; the “judicial hunch”; the discipline of reasons; the place of discretion; standards of review and the respective roles of courts in the judicial hierarchy; the role of the judge in a constitutional democracy; is there always a “right answer”?; what are the qualities of the “good judge”?

The seminar is intended to provide students with an inside look at how the process of judicial decision-making evolves at the appellate level.

The material for the seminar will be the instructor’s draft manuscript of a book upon which students will be invited to provide critical commentary.

Class participation 20% (10% attendance; 10% contributions to class discussion); paper of 2500 to 3000 words (80%). Papers must be delivered to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on March 9, 2017.

At a Glance

Second Term



21 JD


Monday, February 6, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Tuesday, February 7, 2017: 10:30 - 12:20
Wednesday, February 8, 2017: 12:30 - 2:00
Thursday, February 9, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Monday, February 13, 2017: 10:30 - 12:20
Tuesday, February 14, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Wednesday, February 15, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Thursday, February 16, 2017: 8:50 - 10:20