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The University of Southampton

LAWS3099 Constitutional Law of Canada

Module Overview

The Module provides a critical reflection on the development and state of constitutional law in Canada. We will reflect on the way constitutional law founded the transition from colony to constitutional state. Furthermore the module considers how, in contemporary Canada, constitutional law is called upon to mediate deep historical social divisions and tensions and also to foster a social and political culture of tolerance and equality.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the historical evolution of the Canadian constitutional settlement, in particular, the transition from a colonial territory to a constitutional state;
  • the sources of constitutional law in Canada and the differences between them;
  • the principles of constitutionalism which underpin the doctrinal rules and application of the law;
  • the development of the Federal structure of governance in Canada and the significance of the system of Parliamentary democracy;
  • the tensions between a system of individual rights stemming from the Charter of Rights and the protection of group and collective rights, including those of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the pressures for reform and change in the Canadian constitutional settlement;
  • assess the importance of constitutional law in relation to the distribution of public goods and legal entitlements to individuals, communities and political jurisdictions;
  • analyse and reflect upon the nature and effect of constitutional rights when defining individual and collective identities in the light of historical and current political struggles over race, gender, regional and Aboriginal self-determination;
  • think critically about the implications for modern law in historically diverse and complex political communities.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • construct arguments clearly and coherently in writing demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity;
  • ocate and analyse relevant other primary and secondary source materials;
  • engage and apply comparative and critical approaches to a wide variety of issues;
  • think critically, develop coherent arguments and communicate these arguments;
  • exercise initiative, responsibility and creativity to conduct a piece of independent research and to engage with personal and professional development.


This module will introduce to you the Law, Institutions, Historical development and tensions which underpin the on-going development of the Canadian Constitution. Topics covered may vary slightly from year to year but will typically include: • Outline of the historical development of the Canadian constitutional settlement; • Sources of the Constitution Law of Canada; • Federalism; • Aboriginal Rights; • Charter of Rights; • Equality.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The Module is taught by means of a weekly 2-hour seminars. You will be expected to have read materials assigned and where appropriate to take full part in discussion of them with your tutor and fellow students. Preparation for and participation in the weekly seminars will develop: • knowledge required to satisfactorily achieve the stated learning outcomes; • your ability to assess and comment critically on the effectiveness of others’ legal argument and to discuss and defend your own argument; • your ability to engage effectively with key legal research skills; • your organisational and time management skills.

Preparation for scheduled sessions110
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Peter W Hogg (2012). Constitutional Law of Canada. 

Patrick Macklem and Carol Rogerson (2010). Canadian Constitutional Law. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate. However, this module has no set text book.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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