Criminal Law

Essay Component Requirements:

Each student will be required to complete a Formal Research Essay

NB – Any form of plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be dealt with in accordance with Department Policy.

Step 1:

Choose ONE criminal offence as set out either the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Step 2:

Research and write the paper.



  1. Introduction and History: Identify your specific offence. Provide a background and history about the original legislative creation of the offence in Canada. Define any key definitions/terms (if any) that are specific to your offence which are necessary to understand that offence.
  2. Status: Discuss the current status of this offence in Canada. Has it changed from its original status? What was the impetus for this change?
  3. Issues: Comprehensively expand and discuss the following issues related to the offence:
  4. Any Charter issues/Constitutional issues (or challenges) related to the specific offense;
  5. What is the actus reus of the offense? How is it defined? What are the specific requirements needed to prove the offense? Has this changed? How?
  6. What is the mens rea of the offense? How is it defined? It is a specific or general-intent offense? What are the specific requirements needed to prove the offense? Has this changed? How?
  7. Identify the available defenses for this offense. How do they apply? Why do they apply? What is needed in order to rely upon this defense? Is it a defense on the act or the intention?
  8. What are the main/specific principles of sentencing with respect to this offense? How are these offences treated by the legislation (i.e. mandatory minimums?)? If there is a mandatory minimum, has it been struck down? Is there a range with respect to the available sentences? Are there any sentences NOT available for this type of offense?
  9. Conclusion: Provide an overall assessment about this offense in Canada and whether the principles/issues and jurisprudence discussed above will remain static for the foreseeable future, whether they will evolve or change entirely. Do you see this offense changing in the future (intention requirements, act requirements, defences, sentencing)? What would be the impetus for this change?

Specific Formating Requirements:

  • Minimum 7 pages, maximum 10 pages
  • Double spaced
  • 12 point Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch borders


  • Cases and legislation cited must be italicized
  • Internet citations must include the site and date of downloading.
  • Cite but do not quote from the Criminal Code and the
  • Use footnotes and a bibliography. i.e., standard Canadian legal reference style.
  • Also see The Department of Law “Legal Style Sheet for Term Papers.”
  • Use Canadian spelling for Canadian sources.
  • If discussing US or International sources, always identify them as such.

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