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Law 12

Final Inquiry and Research Essay


Context
Throughout the course thus far, we have studied a number of important legal topics and concepts.
We began with a look at the role of morality in our system, then carried on to study the historical
roots of our legal system, the structure of our government, the structure and process of our courts and
some important cases along the way. We have also gone on several field trips and have been visited
by a number of guest speakers. Through these endeavours, you should have built up a fairly healthy
understanding of how our system operates in society today.
We have constantly questioned why the system works the way it does and whether this is the best
and most fair way to do things. With that in mind, you are now being asked to consider an important
question regarding our justice system.
The Question:

To what extent do Canadians actually have access to justice, and is our system
fair and equitable for everyone?
The Research:
It is your job to conduct research based around this central question and try to formulate your own
answer.
Areas of Focus:
You may want to focus on the things we seem to do right:
- Legal Aid
- Disclosure of Investigation and Evidence
- Wrongful Convictions
- Self-Representation
- Affordability
You may also want to focus on things that we do not seem to do right:
- Time Delays
- Repeat Offenders
- Wrongful Convictions
- Affordability
As you may have noticed, some of the same areas of focus could be seen as both positive
and negative.
Please do not restrict yourself to these examples.
Case Law Examples:
As part of your research, you will also have to reference case examples. Do not just name
drop, but use these examples to support your opinions and judgments.
The Final Product:
Once you have conducted your research, you will answer the focus question in a well written formal
essay of approximately 750-1000 words. This essay should have:
- A thesis statement that offers a legal argument and an organizational framework for the
narrative
- Legal evidence in support of the thesis which is presented in a clearly defined way
- A conclusion to tie it all together!
- A proper Chicago style footnote citation of sources used
- A proper Chicago style bibliography
Assessment:
See rubric on the back of this sheet.
Due Date: Thursday December 20th
Assessment Rubric:
Criteria Needs Emerging Developing Proficient Advanced
Significant
Improvement
Does not Thesis is Thesis is Thesis clearly Thesis
Thesis establish a implicit, Somewhat clear identifiable and represents a
thesis. incomplete, or as to specific provides a very thoughtful
unclear, lacking argument and defensible research
organizational while ineffective argument and question, and
structure and or unclear, organizational sets out a very
direction for the attempts to framework and clear framework
essay. provide an direction for the for the rest of the
organizational essay. essay.
structure and
direction for the
essay.
No use of legal Minimal use of Builds arguments Builds Nearly all or all
Argument evidence to build legal evidence to using legal arguments Legal evidence
arguments. build arguments, evidence using legal used to build
Building or unevenly. evidence that arguments is
evidence Relatively split is mostly relevant, strong,
presented is between relevant and and convincing.
largely irrelevant convincing and convincing.
and unconvincing,
unconvincing. relevant and
irrelevant.
No inclusion of Mentions at Partial Develops at Develops two
Legal Context Legal context. least one aspect development of least one aspect or more aspects
of legal context at least one of legal. Other of legal context.
without aspect of legal aspects are
development. context with marginally
limited success.
No clear Organization Organization Organization Organization
Organization organizational minimal and somewhat mostly clear, quite clear. No
structure. Issues ineffective. successful. may include identifiable
& with writing Difficult to follow Some transitions only minor transition or
Writing Style makes the essay narrative. or relationships transition or relational issues.
nearly impossible Writing issues unclear. Writing relational issues. Writing style is
to follow. are present and issues are Writing issues clear and
distract present. are present but effective.
significantly. Distractions are distractions are
moderate. minimal.
No use of Few sources Most sources Most sources All sources are
Source scholarly, legal, scholarly, legal, scholarly, legal, scholarly, legal, scholarly, legal,
or relevant and relevant to or relevant to and relevant to and relevant to
Integration & sources. the chosen topic. chosen topic. chosen topic. the chosen topic.
Analysis
Treats sources Treats most In some cases, Shows general Competent and
superficially. sources shows awareness of consistent
No analysis superficially, awareness of the relationship awareness of
offered. but identifies the relationship between the the relationship
the nature of between the nature sources between the
sources. nature of sources of and the nature of
and the conclusions sources and
conclusions that that can be the
can be made made from corresponding
from them. them. conclusions
that can be
made from
them.
No citations Some Necessary Necessary Necessary
Citations included. necessary citations included citations citations
citations but included and included,
included, but Incomplete complete with complete, and
many are and/or poorly minimal have correct
incomplete, formatted. formatting formatting
poorly formatted, errors. throughout.
and/or missing.