Registration for the Spring 2020 Charter Challenge is open. 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.
The authors of the best arguments will be invited to the Court of Appeal for Ontario to make their cases in person before a panel of judges from that court. As impressive as that is, though, the most important part of the program is what happens in classrooms all over the province in the weeks beforehand.
If you have not yet introduced your classes to OJEN’s Charter Challenge, here are a few reasons why you might consider giving it a try:
- It is probably easier than you think it is!
There is lots of support for teachers and students to make the experience meaningful and fun. 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
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.
- It is a unique way for students to learn about constitutional law.
Through exposure to real and sophisticated problems, they can come to see the Charter as what it was intended to be: a system for deciding what we should do when individual freedoms and circumstances clash with the rules by which society operates, and for how to make change if unfairness to an individual threatens the collective values at the heart of those rules.
- It is a great opportunity to engage students in thinking about law, advocacy and society.
We choose Charter Challenge topics to appeal to students’ interests while touching on current issues with social and legal significance. The Charter Challenge is an amazing set of tools for opening minds.
Registration for the Spring 2020 Charter Challenge is open now until February 28th. For more information, and to register, click here.