Do you want to deepen your students’ understanding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Then OJEN’s Charter Challenge is for you!
The Charter Challenge is Ontario’s only mock appeal competition for secondary schools. Each semester, OJEN releases a mock judicial decision in which complex Charter issues are raised on appeal. Students all over Ontario form teams and choose one side of the appeal to ‘represent.’ They research and write a factum with legal arguments in favour of the appellant or the respondent.
OJEN staff review all the factums we receive and identify the best ones from each side. Those students are invited to make their arguments in person at the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto, before a panel of real judges.
We choose Charter Challenge topics to appeal to students’ interests while touching on current issues with social and legal significance. Some recent Charter Challenge cases have involved:
- The legality of police searches of cell phones
- The right of mothers in prison to keep their young children with them
- Whether parents can exclude children from sex education curriculum against the children’s will
- Mental illness and the right to physician-assisted suicide
To help students, OJEN provides:
- Detailed guides for how to complete the legal analyses involved
- Extra help with legal research, writing and citation
- A factum template to make a professional-looking submission
- Exemplars from previous competitions
- Access to an online forum where students and teachers can share ideas and debate legal issues
- Access to expert legal mentors, who will answer questions about the law and potential legal arguments
- Dedicated staff to provide one-on-one communication and help for teachers
While the chance to compete for a place in the final appeal motivates many students to do their best, the real value of the Charter Challenge lies in the opportunity to use our materials to engage students in thinking about law, advocacy and society. As a teacher, you are welcome to sign up and use these supports as an in-class teaching and learning opportunity, whether or not your students complete a factum submission at the end of the term.
To learn more or to ask about dates for upcoming Charter Challenge competitions, contact email@example.com and sign up for OJEN newsflashes!