Environmental Law

(2880.04) Course
Instructor(s): S. Mason-Case, Adjunct Professor

Description: This course is an introduction to the law of environmental protection in Canada. Major issues and contemporary developments in environmental law are brought to life via guest lectures, short films, news stories and scenarios drawn from real-world environmental controversies. Some of these scenarios are taken up via optional student moot courts and client briefings. Topics typically include common law environmental litigation (eg toxic torts, class actions, SLAPP suits); jurisdiction to regulate (eg federal division of powers, local government powers, aboriginal self-government); command regulation and regulatory innovations; public participation and environmental rights (eg Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights, community right to know laws); environmental compliance and enforcement (eg environmental sentencing, citizen enforcement); international law and the environment (eg multilateral environmental agreements); judicial review of environmental decision-making (eg standard of review, public interest standing); economic policy instruments (eg carbon taxes and trading); federal toxic substances regulation; environmental impact assessment; endangered species protection; and pipeline approval processes and disputes. We take up major federal environmental statutes including the Fisheries Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Species at Risk Act, as well as the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights. Throughout the course, we use cross-cutting issues like climate change to understand complex legal and policy problems. The course is evaluated by a mid-term assignment, class participation, and final exam. For the mid-term  assignment, students work in groups to do an in-class moot court, present an in-class client briefing, or submit a public comment to a government agency on a real-life proposed environmental act, policy, or regulation that is posted for comment on the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights registry or the federal environmental registry.     The course is integrated with the Faculty of Environmental Studies graduate course ENVS 6164 and typically includes students from the MES and MBA programs, whose presence greatly enriches the learning experience.

Evaluation: Mid-term assignment (moot court, client briefing or public comment) 30%; participation 10% and final open-book exam 60%.

Fall: 4 credits; 4 hours
Max. Enrollment: 80
Prerequisite Courses: None
Preferred Courses: None
Presentation: Lecture, discussion, moots, student presentations, guest lectures, short films
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement: No
Praxicum: No