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Writing Effective Reasons

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Who should take this course?

This course is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of administrative decision makers and others who are involved in writing or reviewing decisions for their tribunals.

Reasons are an important piece in ensuring fairness in the Canadian legal system. Reasons that are clearly written and logical not only improve the entire adjudicative process for participants but also assist those who did not attend the hearing such as the wider administrative law community, the public, the media, and, in some instances, reviewing bodies and courts.

Why take this course?

Reasons are written for readers.  We know why we decided a matter, but readers do not.  Therefore, the needs of our audience should drive all writing choices we make.

  • The parties need to understand your reasons to know that they were heard and their positions were considered.
  • A court needs to understand the reasons should your decision be appealed or judicially reviewed.
  • Legal representatives need to understand what is important and relevant so that they can rely on your reasoning in future cases they bring before your board or tribunal.
  • The public needs to understand your reasons to have confidence in the administration of justice.
  • Every reader, no matter how complex or complicated the reasons, needs to understand why you decided the way you did.

Why an E-Learning format?

Many smaller boards and tribunals do not have in-house professional development programs.  Many adjudicators cannot attend in-person decision-writing courses either because of travel costs or ever smaller training and development budgets.  The E-Learning format solves this problem.  You can work on the lessons at your convenience either from home or at the office.  All you need is a computer, printer, and access to the Internet.

Course content

The course is divided into seven modules.  Each module focuses on a distinct aspect of writing reasons for administrative decision making.

  • Introduction: Why we write reasons
  • Issue-based Structure
  • Point-first Writing
  • Evidence, Submissions & Facts
  • Writing for Clarity
  • Editing
  • Wrap Up & Next Steps

Each module will explain each concept covered, why it is important, and the principles underlying it.  Skills-based, interactive activities based on regulatory and adjudicative examples will reinforce the principles you see.  You will be encouraged to develop your own writing checklists to refer to when you write reasons.

Each of the modules is made up of a series of short presentations and interactive activities.  In some sections, you will be quizzed on information after it has been presented.  In other sections, you will be asked to take that information and apply it in simulated situations or scenarios.
Regardless, the goal is the same: to help you learn and apply these important concepts in writing your reasons for decisions.


Members: $225 plus applicable taxes
Non-members: $350 plus applicable taxes

This course is available in French.

If you haver any difficulty applying online for the course (do not see the Apply Button below Registration), try using Google Chrome or Firefox as a browser, or contact us at info@ccat-ctac.org