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OJEN Charter Challenge

The Charter Challenge is Ontario’s only mock appeal for high school students. 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 and volunteers review all the factums we receive and identify the best ones from each side. The teams selected as finalists will be invited to make their arguments in person at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, either in person or via Zoom.

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.

Cameras in the Courtroom

Canadian courts operate on the principle that people’s confidence in our justice system requires that our courts are generally open to the public. However, under Canadian law, live media broadcasting of trials and other court proceedings is not permitted.

Is this constitutional under Canadian law? For the fall 2022 Charter Challenge, students are invited to consider cameras in the courtroom using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an analytical lens. Does the prohibition of live broadcasting offend the right to free expression under section 2(b) of the Charter? If permitted, would it impede rights to trial fairness under section11(d)? And if any infringement exists, can it be saved under section 1 of the Charter  and the Oakes test? Join other law and social science classes around the province as we put these complex legal questions to the test!

Registration for the Fall 2022 Charter Challenge opens September 9th! 

Register here

Fall 2022 Charter Challenge dates:

October 17 – Registration Closes and Materials Distributed

October 24 – Message Boards Open

October 31-November 11 – Mentorship Period

November 25 – Submissions Due

December 9 – Finalists Announced

December 19-23 – Finale held with judges and staff from the Court of Appeal for Ontario

You can watch a recording from the Spring 2022 Charter Challenge Finale here!

Students who liked our mock trials will love the Charter Challenge!

We choose Charter Challenge topics to appeal to students’ interests while touching on current issues with social and legal significance.

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.

For more information please contact charterchallenge@ojen.ca

Who’s Involved:

  • Grade 11 and 12 Law Students
  • Secondary School Teachers
  • Lawyer Mentors and Reviewers
  • Court of Appeal for Ontario

Curriculum Links

  • Understanding Canadian Law, Grade 11, University/College Preparation (CLU3M)
  • Canadian and International Law, Grade 12, University Preparation (CLN4U)

Audience

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