‘Tyranny of small decisions’ infringes on Indigenous rights
Professors Martin Olszynski and Robert Hamilton received $10,000 from the Foundation for Legal Research to study the cumulative effect of resources development on Indigenous rights, including treaty rights to hunt, fish, and trap, which are protected under Canada’s Constitution.
Their project, “Preventing Piecemeal Infringement of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights: A Duty to Assess and Manage Cumulative Effects?”, examines how courts are currently addressing First Nations’ concerns about the impacts of not just individual projects, but also the cumulative effects of multiple projects on the landscape.
According to Hamilton, several First Nations are currently alleging that unconstrained resource development is affecting their ability to hunt, trap, and fish in their traditional territories. But, he says, “to date, Canadian courts have been inconsistent in their treatment of such concerns. While a few decisions suggest some understanding of the mechanics of such harm, others are dismissive, forcing First Nations into complex, time-consuming, and costly litigation to prove actual harm.”
New course makes students and grads ‘irresistible’ to clients and supporting law firms
What legal structures contribute to the success of an entrepreneurial startup? How do the various terms in shareholder agreements or employment agreements play out in the unique atmosphere of a fast-growing venture? What are the legal issues that arise in financings? These are the types of questions being considered by students in the new Entrepreneurial Law course, taught by Bryce Tingle, N. Murray Edwards Chair in Business Law.
Entrepreneurs need assistance in a wide range of areas that bear on their businesses. In practice, this means law students need to gain a thorough knowledge of distinct legal areas such as tax, employment, intellectual property, securities, contract, and corporate law.
Tingle says the course is unique: “We are trying to teach students to imagine what could happen in the future, so the legal arrangements they put into place today will facilitate positive outcomes. Startups are vulnerable — a lot can go wrong — and lawyers are essential to their success.”
Course offers insights into working with the media in times of crisis
We’ve all seen it happen. A story with the right spin can go viral around the world in the seconds, minutes and hours after news breaks. Learning to navigate media sources and stories is complex and competitive. Staying ahead of this curve and having a hand in how the story is shaped in the news can be a make-it-or-break-it for lawyers looking to do their jobs right.
UCalgary Law has responded to this need with the new course Crisis Communications for Lawyers. Taught by Warren Kinsella, LLB’87, who specializes in developing effective communication strategies as the president of the Daisy Group, the course teaches students “to speak effectively to the media in order to serve your client’s best interest.”
Through the activity-based seminar sessions, students are put on the spot in a way that mimics a real-life media crisis. When it happens to you in real life, you aren’t going to have warning.
All aboard the Justice Bus!
Law students spent a summer day in Brooks, to gain hands-on exposure to the day-to-day operations of legal practice in rural communities. The program aims to raise awareness of the opportunities that exist in small and regional firms.
Domestic violence and access to justice within multiple legal systems
Professor Jennifer Koshan is the principal investigator for “Domestic Violence and Access to Justice Within and Across Multiple Legal Systems,” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Koshan is working with co-investigators Wendy Chan (Simon Fraser University), Wanda Wiegers and Michaela Keet (University of Saskatchewan), and Janet Mosher (Osgoode Hall) to examine the access to justice problems that arise in domestic violence cases where different areas of the law intersect, and how these problems differ depending on the jurisdiction where the victims, perpetrator and other family members live. The team recently received additional funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund to develop a website to disseminate their research as a resource for trusted intermediaries in domestic violence cases.
Public Interest Law Clinic supports Alberta Farmers in SCC hearing
In February 2018, the Public Interest Law Clinic appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervener for the Action Surface Rights Association in the Redwater Energy case and who holds responsibility for abandoned oil wells in the province.
“This leave decision is a boon to rural landowners,” say Shaun Fluker and Christine Laing, of the Clinic. “We believe the Alberta courts made serious errors in the Redwater case, and our hope is that the people most affected by the case can play a positive role in helping the Supreme Court correct it.”
UCalgary Law welcomes new Resident Fellow in Indigenous Law and Culture
Lee Francoeur joined UCalgary Law as our Resident Fellow in Indigenous Law and Culture in July 2017. He teaches a course in Indigenous Peoples and the Law, in which students have the opportunity to apply in-depth legal research to real-world issues in the rapidly evolving field of Indigenous Law, while working closing with First Nations, industry or government representatives. He also serves as an advisor to our faculty and sessional instructors in Indigenous issues across the curriculum. Lee also works as a mentor for our Indigenous students and is a member of the law school’s Indigenous Student Support Committee, which is currently conducting consultations to assist us in framing our Indigenous Strategy.
Law students launch new Indigenous Law Club
In 2017, several students joined together to launch the new Indigenous Law Club. The club has two purposes: to promote awareness among law students in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (#27 and #28), and to be a hub for law students interested in Indigenous law, as well as Indigenous students interested in attending law school.
Supporting Indigenous students in their law school careers
In May 2018, we announced a new scholarship for an Indigenous student starting law school in September 2019. The Hersh E. Wolch, QC Memorial Award for Indigenous Law Students is a $15,000 renewable scholarship available to one eligible Canadian Indigenous student starting the JD program in September 2019.