Canadian Constitutional Law

Module code: M3478
Level 4
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar, Workshop
Assessment modes: Distance exam

The distinctive nature and history of the Canadian state and Canadian constitutional arrangements make it an interesting study in its own right, and a useful comparator at a time of growing discussion and interest in the field of constitutionalism.

The Canadian model with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides a source of influence and inspiration to the UK and other Commonwealth countries. It is frequently used as a comparator, particularly because of the multi-faceted nature of the Canadian state and the commitment of the Canadian Constitution to multiculturalism. Canadian constitutional law is examined in comparative perspective.

This module introduces you to the history, structures, sources and nature of the Canadian Constitution. In particular, the module examines the distinctive history of the Canadian constitutional arrangements and the development of a rich Canadian constitutional literature, which has made a major contribution to discussions of constitutionalism and difference.

The context of multinational Canadian democracy provides a particularly interesting case study for an examination of Constitutional contestation. The module examines how this context has influenced the structure of the Canadian state, including:

  • Canadian federalism
  • constitutional change in Canada
  • the adjudication of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982 through the courts.


Public Law 1 (M3406)

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a foundation knowledge of the sources, history, structure and nature of the Canadian constitution.
  • Be able to identify constitutional issues and apply Canadian constitutional jurisprudence to novel situations.
  • Describe the Canadian Charter and the rights protected within it in detail and assess rights claims under the Canadian Charter.
  • Be able to present a written analysis of the legal principles which apply to Federal and Charter constitutional review.