Law

  • Research the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh. Summarize the events leading to his arrest and how his trial was conducted. Describe in what ways the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh violated the rule of law.
  • Research and describe one country where there is concern over its lack of judicial independence. In what ways does that country lack judicial independence? What is the result of not having an independent judiciary?
  • Visit the law courts and ask to have a deputy sheriff speak to the class. He or she will show you a card-size copy of the Charter Warning. Ask him/her why the Charter Warning must be read.
  • Perform a mock trial. Mock trials are available through the Justice Education Society. Ordering information and a full list of resources is available at http://www.JusticeEducation.ca
  1. The resource “Legal Quest” contains scripted and non-scripted criminal and civil mock trials that are appropriate for the Grade 8 level.
  2. Advanced Mock Trials contains seven trials. This resource is better suited to the senior secondary level.
  3. “Being An Active Citizen” Grade 7 has two new mock trials, one criminal and one civil (R v. Frank N. Stein and Humpty Dumpty v. the King).
  • Invite a judge to visit your classroom. The Justice Education Society has partnered with the Supreme Court of BC and the Provincial Court of BC to offer this program. More information at http://www.JusticeEducation.ca
     
  • Visit the courts. Contact the Justice Education Society (http://www.JusticeEducation.ca) to book a time for your class to see the Provincial Court of BC, the Supreme Court of BC or the Court of Appeal for BC. The Justice System Education program is a popular program which allows participants to visit the courts, speak with justice system professionals and experience court in action.
  1. Activities include:
  2. Courthouse orientations
  3. Courtwatching
  4. Mock trial simulations
  5. Q&A sessions with judges, lawyers, and / or sheriffs

For more information, contact your nearest office of the Justice Education Society.

VancouverLaw Courts 604.660.2919
Lower Mainland West Region 604.775.2524
Lower Mainland South Fraser Region 604.572.2276
Interior Region Okanagan (Kelowna) 250.470.6965

  • If you live in the Lower Mainland, invite a professional from Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court or First Nations Court in New Westminster to speak to class. Interview them about the impact that these courts are having.
  • Visit the First Nations Court in New Westminster. Write a report on what you observe and report back to your class.
  • In other communities, invite a member of Crown Counsel from your closest Provincial Court to talk to the class about challenges your community faces regarding repeat offenders or offenders who face challenges of homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, mental health issues or a dual diagnosis. Does your community have any specific programs to address this sort of circumstance? If they do, how could you get involved?
  • What are the laws regarding the downloading of music and movies in Canada? Research current developments in legislation. Write an opinion piece or have a class debate on whether or not Canadians should be allowed to participate in online file sharing of music and movies.
  • Look up local businesses that you frequent on the website of the local or regional chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Are these businesses members of the BBB? Do they have a history of consumer complaints? How did they deal with these complaints? See if you can get a speaker to come in to speak about the work of the BBB.
  • Create a public awareness project to share with students in the school concerning your consumer rights. Choose an issue such as gift cards, misleading advertising, high pressure sales tactics or bait and switching. Research the issue and create an awareness campaign for other students. This could take the form of a public service announcement on the morning announcement, posters or use of display cases in the school.
  • You have been learning about Europe in the 1500s -1700s in the history components of your Social Studies 9 course. It was a time of great change and revolution. Did the societies you have been studying have democratic rights? If so, how do they compare to our Charter?If not, how did the governments of those countries treat their people?
  • Write a thoughtful paragraph that answers, “What do you consider as the most important rights under the Charter? Explain why you think this is and what would you do to protect those rights.”
  • Having been convicted of a criminal offence, criminals have restrictions put on their fundamental freedoms and rights. Do you believe that this is fair? Why or Why not?
  • Research a case where someone’s fundamental freedoms have been limited by the Canadian government. Explain the case and the legal proceedings.
  • Plan a debate with each side taking one of the following positions: “The Canadian government should never restrict freedom of the press in a free society.” OR “The Government is sometimes justified in restricting or limiting our rights as Canadian citizens to protect the greater whole.” Present the debate to your class and/or grade. Have open forum after on what your audience thought of the debate issues.
  • Research in depth one of the alternatives to civil court. Write a simulation/play that demonstrates how the “alternative” process works.
  • Write an argumentative paragraph on either the pros or cons of alternative forms of justice.
  • Contact a restorative justice organization. Arrange to interview one of the facilitators about his or her work. If possible have the person visit your class to talk about the effectiveness of this process. Contact Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice http://www.vanrj.wordpress.com/ or North Shore Restorative Justice Society http://www.nvrj.ca
  • From newspapers, find three articles that relate to family law and marriage. Summarize the articles. Highlight the important issues in your own words. State and justify your opinion about the issue.
  • Plan a family law seminar for your grade. Invite a lawyer to explain the legal issues when people marry and some of the issues that arise when partners separate or divorce.
  • Watch a court television program and contrast it to how the courts work here in British Columbia.
  • Create different scenarios and then decide how it would proceed through the courts.
  • Create your own quiz on the Courts of BC.
  • Visit the Courts. Contact your local Justice Education Society office (http://www.justiceeducation.ca) to book a time for your class to visit the court.
  • Investigate the history of the labour movement in Canada and create a timeline of major events.
  • Investigate British Columbia’s Child Labour laws and research if it contravenes the United Nations Child Labour laws.
  • Investigate various child labour situations around the world and compare them to Canada’s situation.
  • Create your own quiz on the Employment Standards Act.
  • Write up a scenario that would involve going to a tribunal.
  • Do some research to see if you can attend a tribunal in session to see how it works. If possible interview a staff member from that tribunal.
  • Research the case Beauregard v. Canada [1986] 2 S.C.R. 56 and write a reportexplaining the details of the case and howthis case established guidelines for judicialindependence.
  • Using the Supreme Court of Canada website (http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca) and other resources, research one of the Chief Justices from the court. The Chief Justice has an important role in the operation of the court and is the ‘face’ of the court to Canadians. Those who have served in this role have made significant contributions to jurisprudence in Canada and to society. Your report can focus on key judgments, legal precedents, biographical details or legal career.
  • Conduct further investigation on the judicial system of Nazi Germany, particularly the case of the “White Rose” - a resistance group that faced a show trial under infamous Nazi judge Roland Freisler. Write a report on the absence of judicial accountability in Nazi Germany.
  • In October 1970, the federal government, under Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, declared Canada in a state of emergency and invoked the War Measures Act. Investigate the origins and substance of the War Measures Act and discuss your position on the use of this act to deny Canadians their basic rights.
  • Visit a court near you to watch how cases are dealt with. To arrange a visit for yourself and your classmates contact http://www.JusticeEducation.ca
  • Visit your local provincial court and observe the proceedings of a variety of court cases. Watch one case from each division (Family, Criminal, Small Claims and Youth) and prepare a written report on your observations. http://www.JusticeEducation.ca
  • Go to the website on Canadian Mysteries (http://www.canadianmysteries.ca) and find the story titled “Who Killed William Robinson.” The case outlines the murder of William Robinson, an African American on Salt Spring Island in the 19th century. Following the guidelines on the site and prepare an analysis of the key facts, issues and judgment.
  • Contact a criminal defence lawyer and conduct an interview or have them come to the class for a presentation. Prepare your interview questions in advance. If you are inviting them as a guest speaker, meet in advance to plan out what will be discussed and how you can make the presentation interesting for the class. http://www.cba.org/bc/
  • Visit the Pivot Legal Society’s website (http://www.pivotlegal.org/Issues/index.htm) and choose an issue to research. Pivot is a nonprofit legal advocacy society in Vancouver that fights for the rights of the homeless, drug addicted and sex workers. Pivot is largely supported by volunteer workers. Consider volunteering with Pivot.
  • Conduct a research poll in your school on firearms control in Canada. Design a series of questions about firearms laws or gun control and circulate the survey to as many students as possible. A reasonable sample from which you could draw conclusions would require a random sample of at least 10% of the student body (your poll results will be accurate within5% of the total school population if well designed). Upon completion of the survey gather the results and draft your conclusions. http://www.rcmp.grc.gc.ca
  • Begin a restorative justice program in your school by contacting the school administration. Introduce the idea of mediating victims and offenders and having offenders take responsibility for their actions through restitution, community service or reconciliation. http://www.justice.gc.ca OR http://www.restorativejustice.org
  • Contact a school board official in the Abbottsford School District and conduct a brief interview on the use of drug sniffing dogs in the district’s high schools. Prepare your questions in advance and be respectful of the position taken by the official. You will find contact information on the website http://www.sd34.bc.ca
  • Conduct research on a precedent-setting case from the Supreme Court of Canada on one or more of the legal rights found in s. 7- 14 of the Charter. Prepare a summary of each case, including parties involved, issue, legal ruling and final judgment. You will find the website http://www.lexum.umontreal.cavery useful for searching out digital copies of important SCC decisions.
  • Research the protection of legal rights in Canada pre-Charter. Rights such as habeas corpus have existed for several centuries in English Common law. Write a report outlining if and how these rights were protected in law or practice before 1982. See British North America Act, 1867.
  • Research legal rights protection in the United States and create a compare and contrast chart between Canadian and American legal rights. You find the legal rights of Americans protected under the Fourth Amendment to the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the USA. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
  • Research and report on any number of cases related to student legal rights and the Charter outside of the school context. Start with a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Kang-Brown, (2009) SCC 18.
  • Visit Legal Rights for You website http://www.legalrights4u.ca and watch the nine scenarios. Select one scenario and write down some of the questions that are being addressed in it. Ask those questions in class to test your classmates’ knowledge and then show the video.
  • Attend a school board (board of trustees) meeting in your school district and direct a question at the board with respect to the use of drug sniffing dogs. Report back with the response from the board. Alternatively you can write (email) a trustee with your question and report back on their response. http://www.bcsta.org
  • Attend a citizenship ceremony. Interview some of the new Canadians at this ceremony. Film them if you can and produce a video or collage of pictures to present to your class. Make sure to get the people to sign a permission to publish their pictures, names and information. http://www.cic.gc.ca
  • Do a case study examining the development of citizenship and immigration law in Canada - the S.S. St. Louis, internment of Japanese Canadians or Maher Arar. Many curriculum and online resources are available on each of these topics.
  • Citizenship has evolved in Canada since the country’s formation in 1867. Conduct research on the changes to the citizenship laws of Canada and explain the changes with respect to rights, responsibilities, access and processes.
  • Take the Citizenship Test to the Streets to see how the general public responds to the questions. Keep a record of the responses and compile them in a report for your class. You may be surprised at what you find. Make sure to ask the questions of all age groups. http://www.cic.gc.ca
  • Organize and hold a reaffirmation ceremony for your class, grade or whole school. You can get information and certificates by going to the Canadian and Immigration Canada website. Invite an official like a judge to perform the ceremony. http://www.cic.gc.ca
  • Conduct research on international bodies that resolve disputes outside of the UN, for example the World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Group of 8 (G8), or the International Maritime Organization. Prepare a brief report on your research using case examples.
  • Assess the role of the Canadian government in the genocide committed in Rwanda. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was lead by a Canadian but there were very few Canadian ground troops in Rwanda. Investigate the lack of commitment by the Canadian military in Rwanda and why Canada failed to act even when requested by Lieutenant- General Dallaire. http://www.genocidewatch.org
  • Track your carbon footprint using the Zerofootprint calculator at http://www.zerofootprintkids.com/kids. At this website you can measurethe impact your lifestyle is having on the environment. Make a pact to change one or moreof your habits to reduce the footprint and testout at a later date.
  • Organize a daily or weekly commitment at your school to reduce the number of cars in the parking lot. Teaching staff, non-teaching staff and all students can be encouraged to participate. As an alternative, create a no idling zone in the front of your school to reduce the emissions from the cars waiting to drive students home.
  • Contact Amnesty International, or a similar organization, and volunteer your time in the fight against human rights violations. There are a number of national and international organizations dedicated to reporting on and preventing human rights violations globally. http://www.amnesty.ca