Introduction to Legal Studies, 5e
Canadian Legal Studies Series

Tasson, Dickson, Kazmierski, Kuzmarov, & Malette   (Eds.)

Captus Press Inc., ISBN 978-1-55322-334-4 (2015)
598 pages, 1390 g, 8.5 X 11, $72.50 (US$58.00)

Introduction to Legal Studies, 5e, is intended to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and legal institutions for students in undergraduate university and college programs in legal studies.


Like its four predecessors, the fifth edition is structured to reflect the diversity of approaches and perspectives employed within Legal Studies.


The underlying theme of this collection of materials is that “law” cannot be understood simply as a set of formal rules, processes and institutions. Rather, law must be understood in its wider context, including the dynamic relations between “the written law”, legal processes, and the political, cultural, social and economic forces within society. Thus any study of law must engage its subject reflexively and critically, rather than accept without question legal rules, processes and institutions as natural, fixed or given. For this reason, most of the material in this collection engages in critical reflection on the purposes, effects and operation of law.


The text examines such topics as Canadian legal culture and institutions; theories of law; law-making processes; the personnel of law; dispute resolution; access to justice; citizenship and social belonging; crime, social order and the criminal justice system; law, economy and society; and the relationship between law and social transformation.


For courses:

Many of the articles raise complex, and sometimes difficult, arguments that students may initially find difficult to fully appreciate. They are included to challenge students both academically and conceptually, and to acquaint them with many new and enduring debates in the field. The articles will encourage students to read and think more broadly, and critically, not only about what law is, but about the fundamental ambiguity of its roles, functions and even limits, in a wide range of societies.


This book is usefully paired with a basic introductory text that outlines the pragmatic forms and structures of the Canadian legal system.



Table of Contents   top



I.          Law in Context

Overview of Part I

   1.      Social Context: Law in Social Life

   2.      Cultural Context: Legal Cultures in Canada

   3.      Constitutional Context: Law, the State, and the Constitution

   4.      Global Context: The Transnational Influence of Law

II.         Looking at Law: Different Lenses for Law and Legal Studies

Overview of Part II

   5.      Law, Morality, and Justice

   6.      Law, Liberalism, and Its Critics

   7.      Connecting Law and Society

III.        Making Law: Judicial Decisions and Legislation

Overview of Part III

   8.      Judicial Decisions and the Common Law

   9.      Interpreting Legislation

IV.        Law, the State, and Citizens

Overview of Part IV

10.      Citizenship: Who Belongs? Who Is Protected?

11.      Protecting Rights: Inside and Outside the Constitution

V.         Law, Crime, and Social Order

Overview of Part V

12.      What Is Crime?

13.      The Criminal Law Process

VI.        Law, Economy, and Society

Overview of Part VI

14.      Regulating Economic Relationships

15.      Regulating Personal Relationships

VII.       Dispute Resolution

Overview of Part VII

16.      Negotiating and Bargaining

17.      Adjudication

18.      Alternatives to Adjudication/Alternatives within Adjudication

 19.      The Debate over Use of Settlement-based Dispute Resolution Processes

VIII.      Access to Justice

Overview of Part VIII

20.      Access to Justice: Income Issues

21.      Access to Justice: Procedural Issues

IX.        The Personnel of Law

Overview of Part IX

22.      Lawyers, Advocates, and Legal Practice

23.      Juries

24.      Judges

 25.      Law Enforcement Personnel

X.         Law and Social Transformation

Overview of Part X

26.      The Charter of Rights and Social Change

27.      Critical Perspectives on the Role of Law and Legal Personnel as Agents of Change


Click here for a detailed table of contents.

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About the Author   top

Stephen Tasson has taught at Carleton University in both the Department of Law and Centre for Initiatives in Education since 2002. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at York University where his research focuses on contemporary theories of responsibility and cosmopolitan citizenship.

Jane Dickson-Gilmore received her M.A. from Simon Fraser University, and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her current research includes First Nations and Citizenship/Membership, Criminology, Dispute Resolution/Restorative Justice, First Nations and Traditional Justice.

Vincent Kazmierski has taught at Carleton University since 2005. Prior to joining Carleton's Department of Law, he worked as an associate at a national law firm, practicing in civil and commercial litigation as well as constitutional and administrative law. In 1997-1998, Vincent served as a law clerk to Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada. His current research examines the operation of unwritten constitutional principles in Canadian constitutional law, the role of law in promoting democratic accountability, and access to government information laws. He is also a co-author of Looking at Law: Canada's Legal System, 6th ed. published by Lexis-Nexis Canada.

Betina Kuzmarov received her Hon. B.A. from the University of Toronto, her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, her LL.M from McGill University and Ph.D from the University of Hull.

Sebastien Malette is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law at Carleton University.