Canadian Criminal Law: An Introduction
Canadian Criminal Law: An Introduction

Canadian Criminal Law: An Introduction

Lead Author(s): Christopher Nowlin

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

Nelson - This textbook takes a distinctively practical and realistic approach to learning the first principles of criminal law and many of its nuanced rules.

Canadian Criminal Law: An Introduction

by Christopher Nowlin, MA, LLM, PhD

This textbook has been created for broad use by college and university pre-law students who wish to enter the legal profession or criminal justice fields.  Like many domains of specialized knowledge, criminal law has its first principles, which this textbook covers. Any student of criminal law quickly learns, however, that  these first principles are the tip of an extensive iceberg of nuanced rules and exceptions.  This textbook dips students' toes into the watery depths far enough to feel the great complexity below the surface while giving students the confidence to explore deeper if that is their wish. 

That said, this text is mostly legalistic, not sociological, in its approach to criminal law.  Readers will learn the law  in its principles, practice and particulars. Much of the substance of law is precise, not unlike chemical formulas or engineering measurements.  A lawyer either articulates the law precisely in court, thereby assuring a warm reception from the presiding judge, or he or she states the law imprecisely, thereby incurring the judge's wrath.  This text strives to ensure that, by the time students have finished reading it, they can discuss the fundamentals of criminal law with colleagues, friends and others with precision.  Of course, this text endeavours to make learning the criminal law as engaging and as interesting as possible , so it has the twin-aspiration of wanting to inspire students to talk about criminal law issues that matter to them and to know what they are talking about. It is written by a practitioner who believes that  the criminal law can best be learned through a practical lens, so it provides a realistic understanding of criminal law as opposed to a merely doctrinal, conceptual or abstract education.

The author of this text has been practicing criminal law for twenty years and has been teaching it for almost as many years.  He has also written extensively about the criminal law and other areas of law.

Chapter 1 - What is Criminal Law?

  • Substantive and Procedural Law 
  • What Separates a Criminal Offence from a Civil Wrong?
  • The Jury System
  • The Relationship of the Common Law to Statute Law

Chapter 2 - The Ingredients of Criminal Law Offences

  • The Onus of Proof and the Standard of Proof
  • The Reverse Onus of Proof
  • The Charter Challenge and Oakes Test
  • The Key Components of Criminal Law Offences

Chapter 3 - Negligence Offences and Different Modes of Participating in Crime

  • Negligence Offences and the Reasonable Person Approach
  • Different Ways (Modes) of Participating in a Crime
  • Attempting to Commit a Crime
  • Conspiracy
  • Counselling an Offence

Chapter 4 - Criminal Law Defences

  • The Evidentiary Burden
  • The Defence

Chapter 5 - Charter Rights and Due Process

  • Charter Due Process Rights

Chapter 6 - Classification of Offences, Mode of Trial, and Legal Conventions

  • Classification of Offences
  • Proceedings by Indictment
  • Hybrid Offences
  • Summary Conviction Offences
  • Legal Conventions

Chapter 7 - Offences Against the Person

  • Threats
  • Assault
  • Policy Restrictions on the Scope of Consent in Assault Cases
  • Parental and Teachers' Use of Force
  • Unlawfully Causing Bodily Harm
  • Criminal Harassment
  • The Section 810 Peace Bond
  • Forcible Confinement, Kidnapping and Abduction
  • Sexual Offences Involving Young Persons

Chapter 8 - Homicide Offences

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Infanticide
  • Killing an Unborn Child

Chapter 9 - Offences Against Morality

  • Obscenity
  • Child Pornography
  • Indecency
  • Miscellaneous Offences of Sexuality and Immorality involving Young Victims
  • Prostitution

Chapter 10 - Property Offences

  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Extortion
  • Break and Entering
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Arson
  • Mischief

Chapter 11 - Driving Offences

  • Dangerous Driving
  • Failing to Stop at the Scene of an Accident
  • Drinking and Driving Offences

Chapter 12 - Drug Offences and Sentencing

  • The Organization of Drug Law in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • Enforcement of the CDSA
  • The Legalization of Marihuana