Carleton University Department of Law Laws 2202A & V OBLIGATIONS

Carleton University Department of Law Laws 2202A & V OBLIGATIONS
Carleton University
Department of Law
Winter 2012
Professor T. Brettel Dawson
Laws 1000
A: Wednesday, 8.35am-11.25am;
Location: Check Carleton Central for current information.
V: Broadcast (Rogers, Channel 243)
Wednesdays: 1.00pm—4.00pm
Note: Lectures are also viewable via: CUTV Webcast; Video-On-Demand
(VOD) online streaming- (fee applies) and at the CUTV Student Centre.
See the CUTV website for more information.
WEBCT is essential for this course. Class slides mail to Professor,
lectures slides, and assignments are available only through this modality.
We have two excellent and experienced TAs in this class: Eric Vallillee
and Ilya Medovikov.
TA Groups:
Office: Loeb D497
Email: Please email Professor Dawson only through
WebCT Laws 2202 WebCT.
Office Hours: Wednesdays between 11.30am – 12.30pm
and by appointment.
Email is always the best way to be in touch with the
Professor initially.
Email: through WebCT.
After marks are posted: Please wait 48 hours before
emailing your TA. Please think through your query and be
specific in your email about points for review. .
You will be assigned to a ―virtual tutorial group‖ early in the semester.
This will show up as a Discussion Group on the course WebCT site.
There are no actual tutorials but this ‗group‘ acts as your WebCT Home
Group. You work will be marked by the same TA over the semester. Your
TA is your first point of contact for questions about the course and
pg. 1
"Students with disabilities requiring academic accommodations in this course must contact a coordinator at the
Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities to complete the necessary Letters of Accommodation. After
registering with the PMC, make an appointment to meet and discuss your needs with me in order to make the
necessary arrangements as early in the term as possible, but no later than two weeks before the first
assignment is due or the first test requiring accommodations. For further information, please see: . If you require accommodation for your formally
scheduled exam(s) in this course, please submit your request for accommodation to PMC by posted dates.
Religious and Pregnancy accommodations, please contact Equity Services, x. 5622 or their website:
This course examines the concepts employed by the law for creating and enforcing legal
obligations between persons within society, including contract, tort, unjust enrichment and
fiduciary obligation. Consideration is given to the role of persons and the role of the state in
ordering private legal obligations.
These subjects can (and do) form the basis for entire courses, suggesting that our treatment of
them this course is selective and driven by a particular and limited focus. As we discuss the law
of torts, we focus on negligence causing personal injury rather than the many other dimensions
of tort liability. Our focus is on how tort law protects bodily integrity and navigates policy
questions between individual autonomy and social responsibility. Is tort law a sentinel of safety?
Within the consideration of contract law, material is focused on doctrines of formation, terms,
and consideration and how they have changed in response to changes in how markets function,
the changing regulatory involvement of the state, and shifts in the role of the judiciary. The
broadest contours of unjust enrichment (restitution) are addressed comparing the approach of
the courts to defective transactions in the market on the one hand to resolving property disputes
in the family in the absence of a formal legislative framework (such as that provided by
marriage). A similar broad brush approach is taken to the law of fiduciary obligation, locating it
within the thesis that the private law of obligations is concerned not only with markets but also
with ensuring that we can rely on one another.
Learning Objectives
By the end of this course you should be able to:
differentiate between the different kinds (or branches) of obligations in private law;
identify the essential principles of obligation in each branch as derived from leading
explain how private law principles reflect social and economic objectives;
link policy considerations and normative vision of judges to legal outcomes;
contrast the approaches of the common law and equity particularly in relation to
defective transactions and broken relationships; and
reconcile residual principles in private law (such as reliance, confidentiality and
conscience) to the dominant principles of inviolability, and exchange in the market.
I will expect you to be able to give an accurate account of cases, be able compare and contrast
cases at the level of sometimes competing principles, accurately outline arguments made in
scholarly literature and use theory to generate and explore alternate perspectives on possible
legal outcomes.
pg. 2
T. Brettel Dawson, Obligations in Private Law (Concord: North York, 2011). This text will be
available (only) in the University Bookstore.
The required text may be slightly late arriving in the Bookstore as it is ‗hot off the
presses‘ as a brand new text.
Do NOT purchase Sargent and Atkinson, Just Between the Law and Us in any iteration
(this text was recently divided into two volumes). Laws 2202A/V uses quite different
Subject to adjustment as the term unfolds. As needed, I will post an update on WebCT.
Jan 4
Chapter 1
Jan 11
Jan 18
Jan 25
Feb 1
Feb 8
Feb 15
-Feb 29
Mar 7
Mar 14
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
-Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Mar 21
Mar 28
April 24
Torts 1: The Glorious Principle
Torts 2: Contours of Negligence Obligation
Torts 3: Case Studies
Contracts 1: Exchange and the Market
Contracts 2: Formation and Terms
Contracts 3: Consideration
Reading Week: No Class
Unjust Enrichment 1: Defective Transactions
Unjust Enrichment 2: Broken Relationships
Note: Class pre-recorded; played in class
Fiduciary Obligations
Inequality of Bargaining Power
Take Home Final Due (tbc)
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
There are three assignments in the class. Students must complete each component of
evaluation to receive a passing grade in the class.
Value and Due Dates (by 4.00 pm on due date)
(All assignments are submitted online through WebCT Assignments Tab)
Assignment 1 (Torts): Due February 3, 2012. Value 25%
Assignment 2 (Contracts and Unjust Enrichment). Due: March 02, 2012. Value 50%
Assignment 3: (Conscience in Private Law): Due last day of examination period. Value
o Note: TAKE HOME EXAMINATION (Torts): Assigned last day of classes; due:
last day of the examination period. Grade returned with FGR by May 02).
pg. 3
o You will have about 10 days to complete the assignments (longer for the final,
Take Home).
o Assignment 1 and 2 will contain short answer questions (testing your
understanding of course concepts); and case study analysis (essay style
question(s) focused on key cases and readings in the area covered by the
assignment. You will be required to identify and discuss at least two scholarly
sources related to the case study analysis (additional to course materials) to
demonstrate your ability to identify and synthesize perspectives on issues in the
case study. Correct citation will be required for research sources.
o Assignment 3 may vary this format by using a problem scenario in addition to or
in place of the case study analysis. You will not be required to do additional
o You will need to begin to work on the assignments well ahead of the due date to
ensure you review material fully and conduct a meaningful research process. Do
not start the day before and expect to be able to do well. They are not ‗tests‘!
They require reasoned analysis of material and carefully constructed answers.
Online Modality
Assignments are handled electronically rather than in hard copy. Assignments will be posted on
WebCT. Your answers MUST be submitted via WebCT (also using the Assignments tab). You
attach a file to your submission containing your answers. You can submit ONLY ONCE (that is,
you can‘t take back and edit later). You MUST remember to hit submit after you upload or your
paper will not be received in the system.
On Time Expectation and (Draconian) Late Penalties
I am draconian and impose heavy penalties for work which is submitted late and without an
I have every commitment to your success in the course and I know that ‗life‘ can intervene. I
also realise that ‗student last minute deadline driven‘ mode is a common path. However, late
assignments create a significant administrative burden across the surprisingly large team of
people who work with me on the course. There is also a significantly higher risk of assignments
going astray. Accordingly, I expect and require you to get your assignments in ON TIME. To be
sensible about this, there is a very modest grace period for unforeseen, very short term
situations so you don‘t have to sweat a few minutes.
Late Assignments 1 and 2 will be penalized as follows:
You will lose 5% marks on the assignment if you hand the paper in on the due date after
the deadline of 4.00pm but before midnight.
You will lose a further 5% if you hand it in any time ‗next day‘ (up to 11.59pm);
You will lose a further 10% for every following day late (anytime up to turn of midnight)
including weekend days.
o In other words, if a paper is due at 4.00pm on Friday and you get it in on Sunday
evening, you will have lost 20% - so don’t be late!!!).
If you hand in your assignment more than seven days late, your work will be accepted
towards course completion but will receive zero marks.
pg. 4
Assignment 3 (Take Home): There are NO extensions. You must seek a formal deferral from
the Office of the Registrar. You will receive zero if you hand-in the Take Home Examination
after the due time and date without a deferral.
Extensions (Assignments 1 and 2 only)
You can request an extension for serious illness or family and personal emergencies with
supporting documentation.
You cannot receive extensions for computer problems. I URGE you to back up your work as
you go along: email a draft to yourself whenever you finish a chunk of work on it or copy it to a
USB thumb-drive or an external hard drive.
A cold or the flu is not enough for an extension. Work/family schedule conflicts are not a reason
for an extension.
Additional Information for Assignment 3: Take Home Examination
You have until the end of the examination period (to be announced) to complete and submit
your examination.
You are not required to do additional research for the Take Home Examination.
If you are unable to complete the final examination, you must request a formal deferral from
the Registrar‘s Office. There are NO extensions for Take Home Examinations apart from
very short term, same day grace period (1-2 hours max) which I must approve by email on
or before the final day for submission.
Take Home Examinations submitted after the due date will not be accepted for marking.
Unlike a scheduled examination with a set number of hours and a requirement to ‗show up‘
at a designed location, you write a ―Take Home Examination‖ at your own pace and space.
You have full access to course material. You are not required to do additional research.
These kinds of examinations are not about ‗regurgitation‘ but about reflection and analysis of
course themes and material.
Evaluation: The “Rules” (and a bit of advice)
All components of evaluation must be completed to receive a passing grade in the course.
All work must be completed individually and must be fully original. Draft (or final) work may
not be shared with others in the class.
You must follow the University‘s policies on academic integrity available at It is an instructional offence to
commit plagiarism which is defined as ―presenting, whether intentional or not, the ideas,
expression of ideas or work of others as one‘s own.‖ Direct quotations must be indicated
using quotation marks and footnoted. Anything over 50 words should be indented and
single-spaced. Paraphrased material and ideas should be footnoted to source. I rigorously
pursue suspicion of plagiarism and, without exception, refer to the Office of the Dean.
Students should note that a ―student shall not submit substantially the same piece of work
for academic credit more than once without prior written permission of the course instructor
in which the submission occurs. Minor modifications and amendments such as phraseology
in an essay or paper do not constitute a significant and acceptable reworking of an
assignment. If ‗off topic‘ or unexpected work is submitted, I reserve the right to consult with
other instructors to confirm that you are not ‗re-using and re-cycling‘ assignments, which is
pg. 5
strictly prohibited.
Note: Electronic submission makes it relatively easier for us to compare your work with other
submissions. I advise you in the strongest possible terms not to share your electronic files
with other students as they may copy your work and you will be equally subject to academic
I reserve the right to compare all files with other submissions in this course and other
offerings of the course. Further if ‗off topic‘ work is submitted, I reserve the right to consult
with your other instructors to confirm that you are not ‗re-using and re-cycling‘ which is
strictly prohibited.
pg. 6
Taking Notes from Slides and Lectures
Compiled Discussion Group Thread
Laws 2202 Winter 2011
After a very positive discussion with some students about how they are taking notes in class, I
opened up a discussion group for people to share their approaches to taking notes. The
following are postings to that discussion group.
Subject: Thanks for all the ideas!
I've been reading through the suggestions and I am impressed and amazed with all of your
approaches. It seems that there are many ways to be an effective note-taker and the thing is to
find what works best for you. Lots of solid, creative, technical and non-technical ideas have
been posted that you might like to try out to help you find your 'ideal method‘. Happy
Professor Brettel Dawson
Subject: Using your Laptop
I find that no other method of note taking truly beats a laptop.
The reason for this is mainly due to the speed at which one may be able to record information
and as well, erase any mistakes.
It is however a grey area in my mind. One may find that having access to the internet while in
class may be very distracting. The introduction of websites such as Facebook and YouTube
within our society has taken quite a tole on the way we now interact with computers. All too
many times while sitting in class do I see others watching the highlights of last night‘s Senators
game or flicking through pictures from Saturday night‘s party. I personally am no angel. I have
caught myself doing the exact same things. I quickly realized how important it truly is to simply
just pay attention, whether you will be taking notes or not.
Now, I find that turning my internet off helps. I simply just don't use it while in class. As well, I
like to turn my phone completely off until class is finished.
As for taking notes, it is very important to develop a familiar and regular system. I personally
have created a template for note taking. On my computer I have a template file which I modify
for each class. This file includes a title, date and section where I very briefly include four to five
of my thoughts on that week‘s readings. This way, I am able to keep myself organized and on
the ball when in class. Having a pre-built template for note taking also helps one never miss a
beat as I found that trying to structure my notes in class wasted quite a bit of time where I could
have been listening to my professor.
The second half of this word document includes a section where I am able to record what my
professor has been talking about. Of course, this is the most important part of taking notes in
class. It is always good to really pay attention and identify the message your professor is trying
pg. 7
to convey. It is not always necessary to write their words down exactly as they are spoken. I find
that is in fact easier and more helpful in memorizing what they may have said by putting it in my
own words. However you record notes, I cannot stress how key it is to be develop a comfortable
writing style. Ultimately it is you that will be using these notes to study from.
Lastly, I always enjoy reflecting on my notes. I like to add my own comments to my notes when
lecture is all said and done with. This helps with assignments as it is similar to developing a
thesis on what is discussed in lecture.
Hope this helped somebody, as this surely does help me!
Subject: Re: Using your Laptop
I also tried using a lap top in 2nd year- but I was brainlessly typing notes and didn't have
to think about what the prof was saying while typing.
Now, in my 4th and final year, I stick by hand writing. I'll listen to what the Prof is saying
and then summarize it in to words that I understand while they mention something off
topic or a side note. When I walk away from lectures I have really fully taken in the
In order to keep my notes organized - and so I never have to worry about losing my
notes- I spend about an hour a week typing up all my notes for all my classes. Gives me
a second time to re-read all that I learned that week and ensures I have a hard copy and
electronic copy. The extra few minutes is really worth the outcome.
Subject: Pen and Paper
I like to just use the traditional pen and paper methods for taking notes.
By the time I enter the class I will have done the readings for the week, and will have taken
some "pointers" down pertaining to the notable or important sections of the text. I write for the
entire lecture, as it keeps me focused on what is being said. Most of my lecture notes are
jibberish. Some portions are not, containing important corrections to the notes about the
readings or other misunderstandings that need correction.
After class I try and create the final set of notes for that lecture, combining the rough sets from
before and during the lecture. I also continue to highlight and read through these notes to make
sure that there is no "gray-area" of understanding.
I tried using a laptop during first year, and found that 90% of the time I was on facebook. I also
found during the 10% of the time I was actually taking notes or looking at the slides, other
people looking at facebook or playing solitaire was rather distracting. Eventually it just made
sense to "ditch the laptop" and do what keeps me focused on the lectures.
On a final note, I have a few friends that do notes for the Paul Menton Centre would swear by
laptops and electronic note taking. One of them uses an iPad. I find this is more of a subjective
area: try a couple of different things and find the way that keeps your notes organized for you.
pg. 8
Subject: Taking notes using Power Point
I find the most effective way of taking notes in this case is by using powerpoint.
Before class download the slides for that day.
During class use the notes tab bellow the slide to write in additional notes. At the end of class
simply save the file to save your changes.
When you want to print off your notes open the file, then click the Microsoft button (which is
above the home button) and scroll over the publish tab and select " create handouts in Microsoft
word", then simply select which way you would like to print it.
Subject: Re:Taking notes using Power Point
You can also use the "Publish" button to take all of the text off of the slides and put it into
a word document ---which really helps to cut down on page count and printing costs. I
find it helpful to have both printed copies and electronic copies of notes; it saves a lot of
time because you can use the 'find' button and search for something specific in your
notes rather than flipping through them by hand!!
Subject: Re:Taking notes using Power Point
I personally find it best to have printed off the slides ahead of time. Then during the class
I find it quickest to type up my notes in a Microsoft Word document. I have my slides with
me to follow along and then add little notes here and there on the slides where directly
needed. I just find the professor tends to speak too quickly in order to hand-write the
notes and to be flicking through the online powerpoint and adding notes to each slide.
Everyone does things differently though.
pg. 9
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