Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 28: Justice (25-42)

Toronto Metropolitan University Lincoln Alexander School of Law

January 31, 2024

The Lincoln Alexander School of Law (formerly Ryerson University Faculty of Law) is the culmination of years of planning, consultation and approvals, but it started as a belief that this institutions innovative approach to learning should be applied to the study of law. Weve designed a different kind of law school to create a different kind of lawyer – one who is innovative, nimble, and well-equipped to meet the evolving technological and social challenges taking place in society and the marketplace.

The overriding purpose of Juris Doctor (JD) program is to train career-ready legal professionals who possess the diversity of skills required to innovate the legal profession and to expand the reach of justice for all Canadians…Situated in Canadas largest urban area and financial centre, we are known for our dedication to meeting societal needs through career-relevant education and practical learning. In recent years, we added a focus on entrepreneurship to our academic teaching and research to better prepare students to meet evolving societal needs.

The Faculty of Law Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Indigenous Initiatives and Responses to the TRC Report

The Lincoln Alexander School of Law has made it a priority to build relationships with and to serve Indigenous communities. This commitment is embedded as a core value in our Academic Plan. 

Some of the initiatives include:

Organizational 

To guide us in our efforts to Indigenize our curriculum, programming and institutional decision-making, we have established a committee dedicated to Indigenous legal education and the implementation of the TRC’s Calls to Action 27, 28 and 50. The Indigenous Legal Education Committee (ILEC) has a broad mandate to coordinate the implementation of Indigenous legal education, research and service, and to advise the law school’s Faculty Council on these matters. 

Curriculum

Lincoln Alexander Law continues to require all first-year students to complete a mandatory course in Aboriginal and Indigenous law and a lecture in their first-year intensive on Indigenous law. We also offer seminars on Indigenous legal theory and practice, Indigenous persons and the criminal law, and Indigenous dispute resolution. 

In addition to these dedicated courses, Professor Franks leads an initiative to integrate Indigenous issues, perspectives and law into the broader curriculum. To date, he has assisted faculty with the integration of Indigenous legal education into the following courses: administrative law; constitutional law; family law; criminal law; tort law; contract law; wills and estates; data, code and social innovation; legal research and writing; foundations of legal theory; property law; and ethics and professionalism. 

Call to Action # 28

We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and AboriginalCrown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.

Mandatory Course: Yes. Integrated across multiple courses

JUR 103 Property Law

Course Description: Property law deals with ownership, possession, and control of tangible and intangible interests that offer value to individuals, companies and the state. Students analyze competing claims to various types of assets, and are introduced to the economic, moral and other arguments used to support those claims. They are given the opportunity to apply these principles in cases involving the infringement of property rights and explore comparative views of concepts of property in Indigenous law.

JUR 106 Criminal Law

Course Description: Criminal law attempts to balance societal protection and the rights of the accused in both national and international settings. This course deals with the principles and processes of criminal defence and prosecution. Students learn and/or experience bail hearing, preliminary inquiries, judicial conferences, disclosure and jury selection. There is a focus on issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion in the criminal justice system,  particularly the intersection of criminal law with Indigenous culture.

JUR 107 Constitutional Law

Course Description: Constitutional law is the supreme law of the nation state and the authority with which other laws and government actors must comply. Students learn about the powers and responsibilities of different levels and types of government as well as protecting and guaranteeing the rights of legal persons. Students have opportunities to work with ministerial briefs, governmental memoranda, factums and pleadings for landmark constitutional litigation cases, including Indigenous land claims, historical wrongs and competing rights.

JUR 109 Indigenous and Aboriginal Law

Course Description: This course highlights the impact of Canadian laws on Indigenous peoples, including their complex relationship with Canada’s constitution. Traditional Indigenous legal systems and customs, and how these are practiced in a modern context, are studied, along with the legal struggles of First Nations, Inuit and Metis within federal, provincial and territorial contexts. Students examine relevant legislation, regulations and case law and gain experience with by-law making, impact benefit agreements, revenue sharing agreements, and ownership structures.

1The history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools
Possible. Not explicitly mentioned. Assumed under JUR 107 Constitutional Law
Curriculum course content is determined by professors
2The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Possible. Not explicitly mentioned. Assumed under JUR 107 Constitutional Law
Curriculum course content is determined by professors
3Treaties and Aboriginal rights
Yes. JUR 109 Indigenous and Aboriginal Law
Curriculum course content is determined by professors
4Indigenous law
Yes. JUR 109 Indigenous and Aboriginal Law and JUR 103 Property Law
Curriculum course content is determined by professors
5Aboriginal–Crown Relations
Yes. JUR 109 Indigenous and Aboriginal Law
Curriculum course content is determined by professors

Land Acknowledgement: 

Located on Gdoo-maawnjidimi Mompii – Indigenous Student Services Home Page

“Toronto is in the ‘Dish With One Spoon Territory. The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.”