Written Submissions Guidelines

General Guidelines for Written Work

Students are advised that they should not write more than 3 research papers in a term or more than 5 research papers in an academic year. Typically, students find it difficult to meet the deadline requirements and do justice to each paper if they exceed this guideline. Students are not permitted to do more than one Directed Research Project per year without the approval of the Assistant Dean, J.D. Program.

It is an academic offense to submit for credit, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted, any academic work for which credit has been previously obtained or is being sought in another course or program of study in the University or elsewhere (Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters - PDF).

Citations

We have adopted the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, largely devised by the McGill Law Journal, as our citation system. It is usually referred to as the McGill Guide.

Word Count for Written Work

Whenever possible, limitations on the quantity of written work should be expressed in words, not pages. If a limitation is expressed in pages, the word count per page should be approximately 250 words. In counting words, a "word is a word" rule should be applied except for citations. Under the "word is a word" rule, every word counts regardless of length or spacing. However, there is one exception to this principle. Since part of the purpose of writing is to ensure good legal form in terms of citations and footnotes, it is further recommended that each full and formal citation, including all references within the citation, should only count as one word. Students should be informed, in advance, of any recommended or maximum word limitation and, if a penalty is to be imposed on exceeding the maximum, what that penalty will be. See: Exceeding Word Limits

Course Evaluation Guidelines 

Three Credit Courses

  • Papers: Where a 3 credit course has an evaluation comprised only of essays and papers, the combined writing requirement should be in the range of 6,250 to 7,500 words.
  • Exam: Where there is an exam, a 3 credit course will usually have an exam of between 2-3 hours.
  • Reading Requirements: While reading requirements vary, a 3 credit course will usually involve weekly reading of 75- 100 pages.
  • Participation may constitute a significant portion of a 3 credit course, although participation will typically not comprise more than 25% (except where participation has a more structured breakdown, such as a certain percentage for a presentation and another percentage for class participation, etc, and a further exception to this would be in courses such as ADR and Trial Advocacy where participation is a significant component of the learning objectives of a class). 

Four Credit Courses

A Four credit course should be limited to courses which, because of their breadth and/or depth justify the highest degree of contact hours, reading and writing/research/evaluation. These typically will involve survey courses of significant fields of law. Taxation Law, Public International Law and Trusts all illustrate this criteria. Four credit courses will typically be courses with an expectation of high enrollment.

  • Papers:  Where a 4 credit course has an evaluation comprised only of essays and papers, the combined writing requirement should be in the range of 10,000 - 12,000 words (or roughly 40-50 pages). 
  • Exam: Where the evaluation is a 100% exam, it should not be less than a 3 hour exam.
  • Reading Requirements: While reading requirements vary, a 4 credit course will usually involve weekly reading of 100-150 pages
  • Participation will rarely constitute a significant portion of a four credit course

Two Credit Courses

  • Papers: Where a 2 credit course has an evaluation comprised only of essays and papers, the combined writing requirement should be in the range of  3,750 – 5000 words (15 – 20 pages)
  • Exam: Generally students are assigned about 40 – 50 pages of reading for every two hours of class.
  • Reading Requirements: generally students are assigned about 40 -50 pages of reading for every two hours of class
  • Participation will rarely constitute a significant portion of a two credit course.

One Credit Courses

  • Papers: As a one credit course is comprised only of a writing assignment, the writing requirement should be in the range of  2500 to 3000 words (10 pages)
  • Exam: this mode of evaluation does not apply.Reading Requirements: Generally students are assigned about 40 pages of reading for every two hours of class.
  • Participation will rarely constitute a significant portion of a one credit course.

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Integration of Clinical Work with Upper Year Paper Courses

Students participating in clinical programs (i.e. Downtown Legal Services; International Human Rights; David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights and Health Equity and Law) are encouraged to take opportunities to integrate their clinical work into an upper year paper course. Students must obtain approval from the Clinical Director, the paper course instructor, and the Assistant Dean, J.D. Program.

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Feedback and Evaluation for Upper Years - Expectations and Guidelines

Research Papers: All research papers which constitute a majority of a grade in a course will be made available to students with comments after grades are released. In most cases, papers will be made available through faculty secretaries. Where students are out of town after the release of grades in second term, arrangements can be made between the instructor and the student (i.e. through the provision of stamped self-addressed envelope), or through the Associate Dean's Office to return the paper (or a copy of the paper). In the case of adjunct faculty, papers will be available through the Records Office. Students are encouraged to pick up their completed work.

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Deadlines for Submission of Written Work

All papers and assignments are to be submitted to the Records Office by email by 4:00 pm on the date(s) set by the professor (unless otherwise instructed by the professor). Student should not submit assignments directly to the instructor. Each year, the Faculty establishes a final deadline date by which all papers must be submitted. This final deadline date is published in the Sessional Dates. All written work must be submitted with a cover page.

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Submission of Written Work

Take-home exams

Students will submit all typed take-home exams through ExamSoft to the Records Office . Handwritten take-home exams must be submitted to the Records Office by the student writing the exam.

All exams submitted are final. Students will not be permitted to submit any additional work or alternative version. Only the initial submission will be forwarded for grading.

Handwritten take-home exams can be picked up from the Records Office from Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (unless otherwise instructed by professor). Exams must be returned to the Records Office by email either 24 or 48 hours after the time it was picked up from the Records Office (depending on the exam instructions).

The last day for pick up of take-home exams (unless otherwise instructed by professor) will be circulated via listserv during term.

Students must insert the written work cover page as the first page of their submitted work.

Reminder:

  • Law students must use their pseudoname only;
  • Graduate and special students should use their name and student ID.

Students must save their work as a pdf document (.pdf) with the following file name: COURSE CODE-COURSE TITLE-INSTRUCTOR NAME-IDENTIFIER (ex: LAW212H1-BusinessOrganizations-Yoon-Butterfly).

Subject of email must be COURSE CODE-COURSE TITLE-INSTRUCTOR NAME (ex: LAW212H1- BusinessOrganizations-Yoon).

Final Papers

Students will submit all final papers electronically to the Records Office . Students should cc themselves to ensure the file was sent.  The Records Office cannot answer queries as to the receipt of written work and will contact the student directly if an exam was not received.

All exams submitted are final. Students will not be permitted to submit any additional work or alternative version. Only the initial submission will be forwarded for grading.

The last day to submit final papers (unless otherwise instructed by professor) will be posted on the Examination Schedules page.

Students must insert the written work cover page as the first page of their submitted work.

Reminder

  • Law students must use their pseudoname;
  • Graduate and special students should use their name and student ID.

Students must save their work as a pdf document (.pdf) with the following file name: COURSE CODE-COURSE TITLE-INSTRUCTOR NAME-IDENTIFIER (ex: LAW212H1-BusinessOrganizations-Yoon-Butterfly).

Subject of email must be COURSE CODE-COURSE TITLE-INSTRUCTOR NAME (ex: LAW212H1- BusinessOrganizations-Yoon).

 

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Plagiarism

Please see the University of Toronto website "How Not to Plagiarize" for tips for avoiding plagiarism.

Please see the University of Toronto's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters and Code of Student Conduct. The University of Toronto has purchased a license for the use by instructors of Turnitin.com. Turnitin.com is an electronic resource that assists in the deterrence and detection of plagiarism.

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Extensions

Illness and Personal Circumstances

JD students who find that they will be unable to submit their written work by the deadline date must submit a request for an extension in accordance with the Academic Accommodations policy.  See Academic Accommodations.   If an extension is granted, it is expected that students will, during the period of the extension, be fully engaged in the completion of the paper and set aside all other commitments with the exception of preparing for and attending classes.  The Accommodation Request Form must be completely filled out by a medical professional, and accompanied by appropriate documentation. 

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Late Submission of Written Work

Pre-2012 Grading System:

The late submission of written work, in the absence of a reasonable excuse, will attract a penalty of 3% for the first late day (or any fraction thereof) and 1% for every late  day (or fraction thereof) after that.

The clock starts at the time of day identified with the due date. If no time is given, 4:00 p.m. is the default time. Generally, penalties are imposed where the deadlines are missed without explanation, due to poor planning, or where personal choices are made by the student (e.g. holiday plans, extra-curricular commitments, etc.). As a general rule, the Faculty expects academic responsibilities to take precedence over other activities.  Note, too, that the lateness penalty described here applies only to initial deadlines, not to subsequent extensions or deadlines.

Post-2012 Grading System:

The late submission of written work, in the absence of a reasonable excuse, will attract a penalty of 0.6 of a grade point for the first day (or any fraction thereof) and 0.2 of a grade point for every late day (or fraction thereof) after that (HH = 5, H = 4, P = 3, LP = 1, F = 0).

The clock starts at the time of day identified with the due date. If no time is given, 4:00 p.m. is the default time. Generally, penalties are imposed where the deadlines are missed without explanation, due to poor planning, or where personal choices are made by the student (e.g. holiday plans, extra-curricular commitments, etc.). As a general rule, the Faculty expects academic responsibilities to take precedence over other activities.  Note, too, that the lateness penalty described here applies only to initial deadlines, not to subsequent extensions or deadlines.

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Exceeding Word Limits

For all written work, the word count per page should be approximately 250 words.

The following standards were approved at the Faculty Council meeting of March 16, 1982:

  1. A penalty should be imposed and enforced for exceeding a word limit. The purpose of this standard is to ensure that those who abide by word limits are not prejudiced in doing so as a result of others' writing beyond word limits and not being penalized.
  2. Students must be told clearly what the penalty is, including the possibility of failure if that is a possibility. This standard is simply to ensure that there is no unfair surprise.
  3. Students should be told of the recommended length and of the absolute maximum for the word length, after which a penalty will be imposed.
  4. In counting words, a "word is a word" rule should be applied except for citations.
     This standard is recommended because of suggestions that only certain words should count as words or that words should be counted in the same manner as typing charges are formulated. Under the "word is a word" rule, every word would count regardless of length or spacing. There is one exception to this principle, however. Since part of the purpose of writing is to ensure good legal form in terms of citations and footnotes, it is further recommended that each full and formal citation, including all references within the citation, should only count as one word.
  5. The imposition of a penalty should be guided by the following criteria: The penalty should be one that can be clearly articulated or explained; one that can be graduated to match the different degrees of breach and one that can be demonstrated to have been applied. The purposes of these criteria are:
    • to ensure that there is a clear understanding of how the penalty operates, 
    • to ensure that different degrees of breach receive different penalties so that, for example, one who exceeds a word limit by 500 words receives a lesser penalty than one who exceeds a word limit by 2000 words, and finally 
    • to ensure that an instructor, after the imposition of the penalty, can explain and clearly indicate how the penalty affected a student's grade. While the Committee makes no recommendations with respect to which of the present practices referred to in the attached memo are best, it does believe that those which meet these criteria should be used.

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Disability-Related Accommodations - Written Work

Students with learning or physical disabilities may be eligible for accommodations regarding written work. This may include extended deadlines, etc.

Students requiring accommodations due to disabilities must work with Accessibility Services. This requires making an appointment well before the paper deadline to ensure that the necessary assessments and recommendations are made.

Please note that the Faculty of Law does not make assessments regarding disability-related accommodations. The Faculty receives recommendations made by Accessibility Services.

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