Optional Extra Assignment
POLS 3605.03 Canadian Public Law II, Section A, Winter, 2003-04

All students have the opportunity to do an optional extra assignment to raise their mark for the mid-term exam grade.

For students who have not already done the optional extra assignment for POLS 3600 3.0, the assignment is to spend at least one hour at one or more court hearings in each of two different levels of court, and to write a creative paper comparing and analyzing anything you consider of significance.  You should pursue an argument (for example:  "The docket for criminal cases heard in the Provincial Division court in North York is so lengthy that the result is assembly-line justice, in comparison with the leisurely pace of the Court of Appeal."  or  "The Court of Appeal hears a surprising number of run-of-the-mill cases, and therefore bears some striking similarities to the trial courts.")  You may wish to do additional research to back up your argument, but this is not expected and in any case, I do not expect you to consult more than five sources.  Your grade will be based primarily on how well-written and creative your paper is.

Suggestions for courts to visit:

•any of the Provincial Division of the Ontario Court of Justice courts in Metro Toronto (see the blue pages under "Attorney General" for addresses).  Of these Provincial Division courts, the "Old City Hall" court is the most famous.
•the Superior trial court at 361 University Avenue.
•the Court of Appeal in Osgoode Hall (Queen Street and University Avenue).

When entering the court houses, ask the security guard for advice about what are the interesting trials taking place that day.

The grade on your optional extra assignment will be averaged with your lowest exam grade.  For example, if you received 30% on your first exam, and 80% on your optional assignment, then your first exam grade will be changed to 55%.  In no case will your optional assignment be used to lower an exam grade.

Optional extra assignments should be between 3 and 6 pages, if typed and double-spaced.  They must be handed in on or by the last day of class in the term.

For students who have already completed the optional extra assignment for POLS 3600 3.0, the assignment is to spend one to two hours in a level of court that you did not visit for the first optional extra assignment.  (For example, if you visited the Provincial Court and the Superior Court for the first assignment, then you would visit the Court of Appeal.  (Alternatively, you might also want to visit the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, or the Federal Court.  The Federal Court sits from time to time in Toronto at the Canada Life Building, 330 University Avenue, 7th Floor -- but call first at (416) 973-3356 to find out whether there are hearings in session that you could observe.)  Write a creative paper that builds on the analysis of your first paper.  Include some observations relevant preferably to human rights issues.  The paper must be 3 to 6 pages long, if typed and double-spaced.  It must be handed in on or by the last day of class in the term.