Report to Community 2020


Message from the dean

We are three years in to delivering on our commitments laid out in Energy – Innovation – Impact, our five-year strategic plan. We continue to innovate in how we deliver legal education, our research continues to make an impact in our communities, and our students are impressing employers across North America with their skills and knowledge earned from the Calgary Curriculum.

As we all know, 2020 brought many challenges to the university, to our communities, and to the world. As a friend of mine put it to me, it’s like 1918, 1931 and 1968 all rolled up into one! But if I’ve learned anything this year, it is that we are institutionally resilient. Our ability to meet and overcome challenges was evident more than ever, quickly shifting the ways we teach and learn. In the space of just a few days, our faculty members took fifty-nine courses online – learning new technologies and teaching methods as you went, in order to continue to deliver quality legal education to all of our students. Some law firms decided to postpone summer student positions as they shifted to remote work, so we created a number of additional summer research jobs for our students, to provide them with valuable experience and, most importantly, an income. We maintained our commitment to fund our students who were participating in internships with the United Nations, despite the fact that they took place remotely. And our clinics – Student Legal Assistance, the Public Interest Law Clinic, the Business Venture Clinic and Pro Bono Students Canada – worked hard to ensure that they could continue to provide much-needed services to their clients, especially as these services are needed now more than every by the community.

I am honoured to lead a law school that can pivot on a dime when required; a law school that is producing graduates who are remarkable for their mix of broad legal education and practical lawyering skills; a law school that continues to lead the way in natural resources, energy and environmental law in Canada’s energy hub. I am excited to continue working with you to help make Calgary’s law school the leader in legal education provincially, nationally and around the world.

The Faculty of Law has the Energy for Innovation and Impact, at a university that lives in one of Canada’s most dynamic and enterprising cities. We are facing the future head on, and making our mark on the future of legal education. Thank you for your continued support.


Ian Holloway, PC, QC
Professor and Dean of Law

Meeting the goals of our Strategic Plan

17 new courses

implemented as part of the Calgary Curriculum

4 new courses

launched in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Actions

4 new community partnerships

Professor receives funding for project on clean energy diversification

Dr. Rudiger Tscherning, PhD, was named the 2020-2021 Stikeman Elliott LLP Research Fellow in Corporate Law for his research in low-carbon energy diversification in the Canadian oil and gas sector. Tscherning’s project will examine the opportunities and challenges of decarbonizing Canadian oil and gas operations using emerging low-carbon technologies. In addition to the fellowship, Tscherning also received funding from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation for his research.

“The project could not be more timely as the global energy sector is urged to place a greater focus on low-carbon technologies for its post-pandemic recovery projects,” explains Rudiger. “I’m grateful to Stikeman Elliott LLP and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation for their continued support of my scholarship.”


Nationwide research-a-thon examines how municipalities address climate change

We often hear about what measures provincial and federal governments are taking in an attempt to mitigate climate change. But have we ever asked what individual cities and municipalities are doing?

This was the question a group of law students set out to answer as part of a nation-wide research-a-thon hosted by the law schools at the University of Windsor and York University, on the Global Law Clinics Day of Action on Climate Change in November 2019.

Led by second-year student Dana Poscente and the Environmental Law Society, ten law students, four faculty members, and the lawyers in the Public Interest Law Clinic worked together to discover how Calgary is tackling climate issues through city bylaws, policies and other plans.

“Some of the biggest issues in Calgary relating to climate change are building codes — whether buildings are energy efficient and being maintained properly — as well as transportation. Most people in Calgary drive, usually by themselves,” explains Dana.

Some of the questions the UCalgary team explored included what by-laws the city can enact or enforce to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if municipalities can refuse to expand urban boundaries, and if municipalities could adopt legally binding carbon budgets.

Professors receive teaching grant from Taylor Institute

Professors Nickie Nikolaou and Lisa Silver have received a two-year teaching grant from the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning for their project "Creating the “Whole Advocate” through experiential learning in the law classroom." The project will identify key features of the Advocacy course that are contributing to student learning, and suggest necessary revisions for future iterations of the course to enrich and enhance student learning and to ensure alignment with the “Whole Advocate/Lawyer” approach in current legal education. A Template for Advocacy Learning in the Classroom will also be created for use across our curriculum, by other law schools (nationally and internationally), and by other professional and non-professional faculties for which advocacy is a core competency.


Law students learn how to be great businesspeople as well as great lawyers

In February 2020, law students had the opportunity to participate in a Legal Lean Sigma® Process Improvement and Project Management certification course, to gain hands-on experience in process and project management principles.

“Giving students the opportunity to earn this certification will flag to employers that they have an awareness of the principles, while also signaling that they can think outside of the box and bring greater value to clients,” says instructor Kyla Sandwith, whose students were able to participate in the opportunity.

The law school was able to offer the certification because of support from Ingenio Solutions Ltd., a Calgary company developing software to improve collaboration between lawyers, paralegals and clients.

This was the first such offering by a Canadian academic institution since the courses were created in 2008.

The Legal Lean Sigma® course fits well with the law school’s Calgary Curriculum, which is focused on giving students practical, hands-on learning to prepare them for the future of legal practice.

Professor wins national award for outstanding contributions

Professor Jennifer Koshan was named the 2020 winner of The Ramon John Hnatyshyn award from the Canadian Bar Association in February 2020. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions in law reform, legal scholarship and/or legal research.

"I am so honoured to have been recognized by the CBA for my research and law reform work, especially because so much of it has been collaborative. This award is the product of the commitment and activism of many, and I'm so thankful," says Jennifer.

Jennifer’s contributions to law reform are many and varied, and has participated in formal law reform processes at two stages in her career. Early in her career Jennifer was retained by the BC Law Institute to work on Civil Remedies for Sexual Assault. She has also been serving as the Faculty’s nominee as a Director of the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) and as such has been involved in providing oversight for ALRI’s ongoing projects including projects on Property Division for Common-law Couples, Adverse Possession, and the Alberta Evidence Act.


Professor researches key legal issues in fight against COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Professor Lorian Hardcastle has been working on several projects relating to COVID-19, which address drug shortages, virtual medicine, public health emergencies, and care rationing guidelines. She has also done many media appearances on COVID-19, covering such topics as advance directives, the drug approval process, and Health Canada’s investigation of fraudulent COVID-curing products.

Lorian's research interests include public health law, regulation and governance of the health care system, patient safety, and hospital and governmental liability and accountability. She is the author of Introduction to Health Law, which is a textbook for policy-makers, managers, and health professionals.

Lorian is part of a team that was awarded $6.13 million by the province's Major Innovation Fund to study antimicrobial resistance. This project involves researchers from across the University of Calgary from such disciplines as medicine, veterinary medicine, biology, economics, and public policy. This project adopts a "One Health Approach," which means that researchers will explore the issue by looking at human health, animal health, environmental health, and their relationship to one another. The University of Calgary recently recognized One Health as an Emerging Cross-Cutting Research Theme.

Lorian is also currently working on projects relating to artificial intelligence in health, regulation of long-term care homes, and regulation of health professionals.

Professors cited in court decisions across Canada

Research conducted by our faculty is often cited in decisions at all levels of courts across Canada, and this year was no exception.

Professor Robert Hamilton was cited in the Supreme Court of Canada decision Newfoundland and Labrador (Attorney General) v. Uashaunnuat (Innu of Uashat and of Mani-Utenam) in February 2020, which saw two Innu First Nations filing suit against two mining companies responsible for open-pit mining megaprojects in Quebec and Newfoundland. Robert’s article “Private Property and Aboriginal Title: What is the Role of Equity in Mediating Conflicting Claims?” (UBC L. Rev, 2018) was cited in the decision.

Professor Nigel Bankes and Professor Emeritus Al Lucas were cited in the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision on the federal carbon pricing law in February 2020. Their Alberta Law Review article, “Kyoto, Constitutional Law and Alberta’s Proposals,” (2004), which examines the constitutionality of Alberta’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change, was cited in the decision which stated that the federal government’s carbon pricing law is unconstitutional.

Professor Nickie Nikolaou’s LLM thesis was cited in the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc v. Perpetual Energy Inc. Nickie’s thesis examines who is liable for cleaning up environmental damage caused by oil and gas activities in Alberta. The case saw PricewaterhouseCoopers, the trustee in the bankruptcy of Sequoia, sue Calgary-based Perpetual Energy, arguing that the company knew aging gas wells sold to Sequoia would sink the company.

Dinos’ Brett Layton named Canada's most outstanding university men's basketball player

Second-year law student Brett Layton was named the 2019-20 winner of the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the U SPORTS men’s basketball most outstanding player in March, capping off a record-setting season. It’s the fourth such honour for a Dinos player and the first since Richard Bohne in 1996. Karl Tilleman won back-to-back Moser trophies in 1982 and 1983.

Among his myriad of accomplishments in 2019-20, he became the first player in conference history to record a 40-point, 20-rebound night Nov. 23 against Trinity Western. On the final night of the regular season he set a single-game conference record with 27 rebounds at his old stomping grounds, Mount Royal’s Kenyon Court. He led the nation with 299 rebounds — also a CW record for a 20-game season — while leading Canada West in field goal percentage (62.8) and blocks (43) — third and second in the nation, respectively, in those two categories.

“We wouldn’t have won many games without Brett Layton. He has the ability to impact a game on offence, both scoring and rebounding the ball, and then defensively he can alter shots, then sprint the floor. The guy is a very, very special player,” says Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. 

Law students represent complainant at Human Rights Tribunal, and win

In the case Salazar v J.S.L. Investments Corporation, 2020 AHRC 8, the complaint alleges discrimination in the area of employment on the grounds of mental disability under section 7(1)(a) of the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act). The respondent, a dental clinic operating as JSL Investments Corporation, filed a response on July 22, 2013, denying such discrimination.

Third-year students Aaron Marchadour and Julie Ward represented the complainant as part of Pro Bono Students Canada - Calgary's Human Rights Project.

In the January 14, 2020 decision from Duncan Marsden, the Tribunal Chair, made the following comment:

"I pause at this stage to thank the complainant’s and the respondent’s representatives for their conduct throughout the hearing. I would note, in particular, that the complainant was represented by two students, Julie Ward and Aaron Marchadour. Both provided a significant amount of their own personal time, as I understand it, on a pro bono voluntary basis and I wish to take this opportunity to applaud their service to the community. I encourage them to continue to be active in pro bono initiatives, throughout their respective legal careers.

Third-year students' research win awards at Undergrad Research Symposium

Brady Chapman received the SU Sustainability Award, which rewards work with a sustainability-related topic, including energy, water, waste, economics and community development. Brady's project, “Finding a Home for the Orphans and Inactives: repurposing oil and gas wells for geothermal?", explored the use of oil and gas wells for geothermal high-heat and low-heat applications in Alberta. The project offers recommendations for the development of a legal regime and policies that will better foster industry development in this area.

Joey Bogle received the Faculty of Law Award, which is given to a law student to showcase any legal research undertaken, for his project "Treaty Shopping and the New Multilateral Tax Agreement: Is it Business as Usual in Canada?" The Multilateral Convention (MLI) entered into force in Canada on December 1, 2019, and is an international agreement created by the OECD whereby countries agree to tax treaty minimum standards. These include a new preamble specifically referencing treaty-shopping arrangements, and a principal purpose test (PPT). The PPT denies benefits unless the benefit is in line with the object and purpose of the treaty.