The Faculty of Law, Common Law Section is unique in that it has adopted a three week January term during which each student takes one course, which is offered in an intensive format. The three-week schedule allows the Faculty to engage professors who would be otherwise unavailable for a traditional semester, while students are able to concentrate all their attention on one course.
An outstanding group of local and regional lawyers, judges and journalists offer many of the January term courses, while visiting professors and the Faculty’s own full-time professors are responsible for the others. The Common Law Section has also been fortunate to host visiting professors from law schools around the world during January term. This year, the Faculty is pleased to welcome visiting professors from Poland, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, and Canada.
All first-year students study an intensive course in Dispute Resolution, which draws on the experience of dispute resolution professionals from the community who volunteer their time and expertise. Through interactive teaching and role-playing, students learn the practical skills of interviewing, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, as well as professional ethics. They also attend specialized workshops on diverse dispute resolution techniques.
Upper year students select an intensive course from a wide range of options that vary each year. These can range from trial advocacy, studies in criminal law, and Indigenous Women’s Legal Advocacy Research Projects, to private law, property, business law and European Union Law seminars.
One such course is the Law and Multilevel Governance Seminar offered by CIGI Visiting Scholar Thomas Cottier, Professor emeritus of European and International Economic Law at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Professor Cottier’s seminar examines the fundamental problem of legal allocation of powers in federacy and international relations.
For second year student Kent Evans, the ability to focus on one specific subject matter in January term provides a fresh change of pace from the usual course load. “The ability to explore an area of interest in detail is something that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to do in a regular course. For advanced seminars that deal with global governance and global affairs subjects, this is truly invaluable.”
2018 also marks the launch of the inaugural Child Protection Seminar in memory of Justice Heidi Levenson Polowin. Although Justice Polowin sat as a judge of general jurisdiction, the child protection work of the court became her mission and her labour of love. This intensive course will provide an opportunity for students to examine in some detail the child protection legislation and law in Ontario.
January term is intense and exhausting, but it offers a unique experience that is truly rewarding for students and professors alike.