Unit 1: The Legal Mind: Introducing the Inquiry Process and Foundations of the Law


Main Topics:

  • Law is pervasive; it regulates much of our daily lives.
  • Law is purposeful; it can protect people and it can help us to resolve disputes.
  • Law is shaped by many factors.
  • It is important to ask questions such as “Why is this law important?” and “Has this law changed over time?”
  • In order to become informed about an issue it is crucial to gather evidence from a number of sources and to consider the validity of those sources.
  • The legal studies inquiry process and the concepts of legal thinking are important tools in the study of law.
  • Law is influenced by individuals, groups and governments, both domestic and international.

Unit 1 Activities

Activity 1: Asking Questions About Law
Activity 2: Thinking About Law
Activity 3: Writing About Law
Activity 4: Principles of Justice
Activity 5: Legal Theory
Activity 6: Beyond Our Borders

Unit 2: Legal Foundations


Your house or apartment building would collapse if the base were weak, if the home were built carelessly or perhaps too quickly. The law and legal system are constructed in much the same way. Over time our system was built upon ideas and concepts such as the rule of law, democracy, impartiality and  fairness. These ideas make the legal system strong and help us to achieve justice.

On occasion, errors were made during the building process; we had to tear down laws that were discriminatory or outdated. We have had to rebuild and change the justice system after we thought carefully about the home we wanted to create. Some laws were; and some remain; unfair. This is true of both Canada and other nations.

Ask yourself:

  • How does law change?
  • What factors influence the legal development?

In this unit you will investigate the sources of law, the ways in which the law has altered over time and the ideas or values that form the foundation upon which our legal process is built.  

Unit 2 Activities

Activity 1: Principles in Action
Activity 2: Making Connections
Activity 3: Sources of Law
Activity 4: Flashback
Activity 5: Beyond our Borders - Fundamentals of International Law

Unit 3: Rights and Freedoms


It is likely that you believe that the police should arrest people who harm children. Most people can agree on the need to protect children. It is highly unlikely, however, that you would allow the police to come into your home at any time; day or night, with or without cause, to make sure that all the children in the home are safe. While the purpose or intention of keeping children from harm is valid and important, you would not give the police the unrestricted right to violate your rights and freedoms.

Hmmm...this rights business is complicated.

Unit 3 Activities

Activity 1: What are Human Rights?
Activity 2: How has the protection of human rights changed over time?
Activity 3: Does Canada do a good job recognizing and protecting human rights?
Activity 4: Beyond our Border: Are human rights protected internationally?
Activity 5: Where do we go from here?
Activity 6: How would you rank Canada’s success in the recognition and protection of human rights?

Unit 4: Issues in Criminal Law


A crime: “an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.”

With little difficulty you can list any number of crimes: theft, fraud, assault, murder. You can easily determine that these actions are crimes because they harm or threaten to harm people and property.

This unit will encourage you to explore the answers to some of those questions and draw your own conclusions about international criminal law.

Unit 4 Activities

Unit 5: International Legal Issues


In this unit you will be exploring some of the legal issues related to the environment, labour and the workplace as well as international economic agreements. In our globalized world, these elements are all interconnected. There are many challenging questions that need to be addressed as international legal issues such as climate change, poverty, economy, politics, working conditions and conflict are connected to legal principles such as the rule of law, equality and fairness.

Unit 5 Activities

Activity 1: Protecting the Environment?
Activity 2: Beyond our Borders: Canada’s Environmental Actions
Activity 3: Canada’s Involvement in International Trade Agreements
Activity 4: Protecting Our Workers
Activity 5: International Law Challenges

Unit 6: Inquiring Minds Want to Know


You did it! The course is almost complete. Now is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the legal concepts and the legal inquiry method through an legal inquiry into an area of personal interest to you.

Think about all of the different issues that you have explored throughout the course.

Ask yourself:

  • What made you curious?

Unit 6 Activities

Activity 1: Setting the Stage for Inquiry
Activity 2: Showtime