Case Summary and Analysis Assignment

Case Summary and Analysis Assignment Value: Worth 30% of your final grade; marked out of 30 points. Title Page: Include a title/cover page with your name and student number, course name and number, and Assignment Title.

Case Summary and Analysis Assignment
Case Summary and Analysis Assignment

Spacing and Font:       Use double-spacing except for block quotes. FThe font should be  Arial 11 pt or Times New Roman 12 pt with regular page margins. Insert page numbers. File Format      Submit your file in MS Word. Please convert WordPerfect files into MS Word. Do not submit in Mac Pages or as a PDF. This creates conversion and compatibility issues.

File Name:                   Name your file using this protocol: Your last name and first initial and assignment number (e.g. SmithD_1).

File Submission:          The assignment must be submitted electronically via the Laws 2908 cuLearn Assignment Link. Remember to hit the SUBMIT button! You will receive a confirmation email once properly submitted.

Other Instructions:      Additional requirements and details affecting this assignment are provided at the end of the assignment. This includes penalties for length and lateness. Read to the end of this document!


This assignment requires you to write a Case Summary and Analysis of Carter  v Canada.  The case has been posted on cuLearn. If you wish, you can also find the case using Quicklaw or Westlaw.


Write your Assignment as an Essay. We strongly urge you to use the main headings such as Introduction, Summary of the Case, Analysis and Conclusion.  You may also wish to use subheadings.

Your Case Summary and Analysis should include the following elements.

  1. Introduction (3 marks)

Provide an introduction that identifies the following information:

  • Identify the main case you will be discussing in the essay. (Your first footnote should include a complete and correct citation for the case using McGill Guide, the 9th Edition).
  • Provide a brief ‘road map’ to the essay – in other words, identify the topics the essay will address.
  • Provide a brief thesis statement that identifies the main argument you will advance in your analysis. (In this assignment, your thesis statement should relate to Question 3 of Part III of the assignment) (ie. Which approach to defining the roles of Parliament and the Courts did you find better?).
  1. Summary of the Case

Provide a summary of the case by addressing the following topics:

  1. Background to the Case (Cause of Action and Procedural History) (2 marks)
  • Who are the parties to the proceeding (no need to list intervenors)?
  • What is the nature of the proceeding (e.g. is it a motion, an application, an action or an appeal)/what are the plaintiff’s seeking as an order)?
  • Who is/are the judge(s) presiding over this proceeding and providing the reasons for decision?
  • Briefly describe the results of any lower court decisions that occurred before this proceeding.
  1. Facts (3 marks)
  • Summarize the relevant facts necessary to understand what the case is all about.
  1. Legal Issues (1 mark)
  • What were the specific legal issues that the Court had to decide?


  1. Decision and Remedy (2 marks)
  • How did the judge resolve each of the specific legal issues to be determined? (In other words, tell us the specific legal answer to each issue)
  • What was the remedy granted by the judge?

O Note: provide the information in this section but do not provide a detailed explanation at this point)

  1. Ratio Decidendi and Obiter Dicta (2 marks)
  • Identify and state the ratio decidendi of the case.
  • Was there any obiter dicta? Explain why and identify it if relevant.
  1. Judicial Reasoning (6 marks)
  • Set out the reasons given by the judges to support their decision according to the technique for reading judicial reasoning covered in class.
  • In addition, be sure to integrate the answers to the following four questions into your discussion:
  1. How did the Court view the impact of its previous decision in Rodriguez?
  2. Did the Court find that the right to life was engaged? If so, in what way?
  3. What was the Court’s reasoning on the question of principles of fundamental justice?
  4. How does the trial judge’s factual findings play a role on the question of minimal impairment?

In answering these four questions you should nevertheless touch on each step of the court’s analysis and describe both 1) what the conclusion was; and 2) the basis for that conclusion.

* make sure you provide references to specific paragraphs in the decision to support your discussion. REMEMBER: avoid unnecessary block quotes.

III. Analysis: Consider the decision in the context of evolving judicial conceptions of autonomy, life, dignity and vulnerability (6 marks)

Provide an analysis of the way in which the decision fits within evolving judicial conceptions of autonomy, life, dignity and vulnerability and different conceptions of the role of judges in implementing social change. In particular, you should be sure to integrate the answers to the following three questions into your discussion:

  1. Compare and contrast the notions of life (or sanctity of life) adopted in Rodriguez, AC v Manitoba and Carter?
  2. What role did social science/expert evidence play in the shift between Rodriguez and Carter? In your view, is this type of use beneficial or not?
  3. How did the different courts/judges in Rodriguez, AC v Manitoba and Carter view their respective roles in determining the appropriate balance between autonomy/dignity and the protection of vulnerable populations? More particularly, compare and contrast the different views of Parliament’s role and the Courts’ role. Which approach do you think is the best approach? Explain why.

* make sure you provide references to specific paragraphs in the decisions to support your analysis.


  1. Conclusion (2 marks)

Provide a short conclusion to your essay that summarizes the main points you have advanced in your  analysis of the case and the main points that support your argument concerning which of the approaches to legal and social change is the most convincing.

Note: Quality of writing and citations (3 marks)



  • Your Case Analysis should be no more than 2250 words long (approximately 8-10 pages). Footnotes or endnotes are not included in the word count. We will give a ‘grace’ allocation of a further 100 words for headings and cover page. You will lose marks if you go over the word limit (pro-rated at the rate of 1 mark/200 words; so you will lose 0.5 marks if you go over 100 words and 1.5 marks if you go over by 300 words and so forth.
  • This word limit may seem long when you begin and short when you get into the assignment, but your ability to discern the most relevant information and to focus your Case Analysis is one of the skills being assessed in this Assignment. Pay attention to the mark allocations as a further guide to allocate your word limit.

Apportioning your Words:

  • Summarize rather than directly quoting from the judgment except where you wish to comment on particular phrasing. You must provide correct citations for direct quotations from the judgments and after lengthy summaries of parts of the judgment. However, you do not have to provide a citation for every individual fact or line you summarize from the judgment.
  • Be succinct when discussing facts, issues, applicable rules and decision.
  • Your statement of the ratio should not exceed 5 sentences. Allocate the longest portions of your essay to discussing judicial reasoning and the analysis.

Late Penalties and Extensions

Late penalties will be assessed as follows:

  • Deduction of 5% marks for late on the due date or the next day.
  • A further 10% is deducted at the beginning of each following day (at 12:01am) including weekend days.

You must contact Professor Schoenholz to request an extension before the due date.  Extensions can only be granted for serious illness (with medical note) or serious family emergency (with supporting documents).  Refer to the Course Outline for complete rules with respect to extensions.

Other Rules and FAQs:

  1. It is not acceptable to simply copy information from the headnote/editor’s summary of the case; you must create your own summary. Do not copy any material from online summaries. This will be treated as plagiarism. Case Analyses must be fully original and must be the result of individual work only. Refer to the Course Outline for rules with respect to academic integrity.
  2. Make sure to include a Bibliography.
  3. You do not have to do additional research.
  4. All citation should follow the rules of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (McGill Guide).
  5. Pay attention to your writing. Use section headings that correspond to each component. Make sure that you use complete sentences and have a clear and logical structure. Polish your writing to ensure it is free from typographical errors. Marks are allocated for effective writing.
  6. Keep a copy of your essay as submitted.

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