Study finds link between high density of fracking operations and increased risk of adverse birth outcomes
A multidisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in medicine, education, engineering, geography, science, and law is investigating maternal and child health, child development, regulations and policy related to hydraulic fracturing in Alberta.
In the first study the University of Calgary team has published in this research area, the scientists discovered a link between the density of fracking operations and increased risk for poor health outcomes for pregnant people and their babies.
UCalgary research team poised to develop large-scale marine carbon dioxide removal technology
A transdisciplinary research team from the University of Calgary has received $100,000 from the Scotiabank Net Zero Research Fund to put toward their carbon dioxide removal (CDR) pilot. The PEACH (Practical Electrochemical Air Capture) team made up of chemists, engineers, legal scholars, and geoscientists will use the funding to assess feasible approaches to CDR in marine regions.
They are focused on development and assessment of a new technology that could store atmospheric carbon long-term as bicarbonate in the ocean. The two-year project, which is now in technology development phase, introduces a novel approach to safely change near-surface seawater chemistry to promote natural uptake of carbon dioxide in the ocean.
New law course provides understanding in how we disagree, compromise, and learn together
The division of power, known as federalism, is the topic of a new course offered by the Faculty of Law, created by Dr. Fenner Stewart, PhD. The study of federalism reveals the divisions and separations of public power within a single territory.
Using a series of transdisciplinary readings, students explore Canada's blueprint for formal governance and power-sharing, gaining an appreciation for why Canadian institutions work as they do, and how they must change to cope with the needs of a diverse, pluralistic society.
"Our public sphere is polarized and divided," explains Stewart. "It's becoming more difficult for Canadians to articulate public reason and public interest. It has never been more important for all Canadians to learn how to flourish together. Students in Canadian Federalism will not only acquire tools that will make them better lawyers, but also tools that will make them better citizens, who can help resuscitate the public sphere."
New course exposes students to life beyond the law firm
A new course that gives students insights into the world of corporate and in-house counsel examines problems faced by in-house and external counsel in advising corporations and addresses the pragmatic aspects of in-house practice, focusing on developing skills. Working through real-life examples, students learn how to read financial statements, give presentations on legal or ethical issues that an organization may face, understand legal operations matters like contract lifecycle management, and build their business acumen.
Vancouver-based lawyer Lynne Charbonneau pitched the course to Dean Holloway as an area of practice that would be great for students to understand, as a different career path, and to provide tools for students entering practice that would be useful in both a law firm and in-house environment.
"When you work in a firm, you are paid to provide advice, and organizations or individuals are likely to take that advice. When you work in a company, you don't necessarily have any authority over anything; you are there as a guide and to explain the law," says Charbonneau.
Professor wins SU Teaching Excellence Award
Professor Lisa Silver was a 2022 winner of the Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards, a campus-wide recognition program giving undergraduate students the chance to honour and thank those instructors, professors, and teaching assistants who have supported and made a lasting and positive impression on their students.
“There is nothing more meaningful than being recognized by your students who inspire and challenge me to be at my best. Through this award, I too recognize their accomplishments and efforts. I am proud to share knowledge with the amazing students at UCalgary Law, who will become the best our profession can offer.”
Exploring the operation and regulation of insolvency litigation funding in Canada
Professor Jassmine Girgis is the sole Canadian on an international team of researchers exploring the legalities of insolvency litigation funding across ten jurisdictions.
The project, based out of the Universities of South Australia and Adelaide, seeks to provide a cross-jurisdictional comparison of the way and extent to which commercial litigation funding is used in the insolvency context in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and the USA.
Historically, these agreements have been somewhat controversial, as they could potentially offend the common law doctrines of champerty (where a third-party pays some or all of the litigation costs in return for a share of the proceeds) and maintenance (an unconnected third-party assisting to maintain litigation). Though this continues to be an evolving area of law, courts have been recognizing these agreements, the benefits of which include increased access to justice.
Research explores interplay between the oppression remedy and freedom of religion
Professor Howard Kislowicz has teamed up with Professor Anna Lund of the University of Alberta to explore the interplay between the oppression remedy and freedom of religion. The oppression remedy is meant to give a way for minority shareholders and stakeholders to have a remedy over behaviour that treats someone unfairly even if it is technically valid.
“The oppression remedy has been incorporated into some of the statutes under which groups organize. With religious organizations, it typically comes in to play when there is a dispute about membership or the direction of the organization,” he says.
He and Lund are exploring ways that courts could apply the oppression remedy in the context of religious organizations. The oppression remedy has not been used often in these contexts, so the team is thinking through how it interfaces with constitutional values.
Bridging the gap between science and law
“When it comes to environmental law and policy, some things are just too important to trust to the lawyers.”
The relationship between science, law and policy is one that is often full of tension, especially when it comes to matters of protecting the environment and the sustainable development of our natural resources. It is this tension that Professor Martin Olszynski hopes to ease after leading a two-day workshop and in the development of a new course.
Olszynski, who has an undergraduate degree in science and spent several years practicing law in the legal services unit at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, spent two days on Galiano Island, BC, leading a legal workshop for the Liber Ero Fellowship Program, a post-doctoral program that seeks to support exceptional early-career scientists to conduct and communicate research that informs applied conservation and management issues relevant to Canada.
“It’s important for both lawyers and scientists to understand the rules of engagement: which level of government is responsible for which environmental issues, or how science is sometimes considered and scrutinized by Canadian courts, and other times not,” he explains. “My goal is to help bridge the gap and explain what can otherwise get lost in translation between scientists and lawyers.”
Empowering women to lead in law
Many leadership programs for women lawyers speak to participants through lectures and speaker events. A new program, developed by the Women in Law Leadership (WILL) organization in partnership with the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law and the Law Society of Alberta, seeks to empower participants — from within — to allow them to collaborate and speak amongst each other to find their leadership voices. Over five immersive days, participants reflect upon their leadership aspirations and journeys to date. They explore the tools and competencies they will need to advance as leaders, and they build the networks that will encourage and support them along the way. The program seeks to accelerate equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within the legal profession by empowering women to lead in law.
The program is the result of three years of collaboration by a diverse group of women dedicated to developing a curriculum intended to provide women in law with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary to thrive personally and professionally. The program design committee comprised of ourselves (a legal academic and an educational expert with business experience) and several other women from different legal backgrounds (e.g., private practice, in-house, consultancy, program evaluation, professional regulation). This group was intentionally brought together to ensure that the program’s design will accelerate EDI in the legal profession and empower women in law to lead from every seat and at every stage in their career.
Alumna wins inaugural Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Prize
Dalal Souraya, JD'21 was one of 23 winners of the prize from the Royal Society of Canada. The RSC established the Prize in honour of Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, a changemaker celebrated for her visionary intellectual contributions and commitment to building equality and equity across Canadian society and beyond.
As a former Society of Law Students president, Dalal advocated for EDI support and created a bursary for low-income students. Currently, Dalal is articling at Calgary Legal Guidance, and plans to continue advocating for access to justice throughout her career.
"Justice Abella has been a huge role model for me since the start of my law career," says Souraya. "She has broken so many barriers and significantly changed this profession and our society for the better. That is why I am beyond honoured to have received this award. I recognize the privilege I have in being in this profession, and I want to use that to help others. Overall, I am thankful for the recognition. I just hope to live up to this award one day and make a positive change in the world."
Law alum's career heads into orbit with unexpected passion for space law
Do the laws of the land apply to space?
That’s a question without a definitive answer as human presence beyond the confines of Planet Earth is expected to grow in the years to come. How do we create laws that are applicable in orbit or beyond?
A graduate from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law is channeling his career toward the growing field of space law in the hopes of helping find answers to these questions.
Initially interested in the fields of international security and cybersecurity law, Gregory Radisic, JD’22, had the opportunity to intern with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Surprisingly, this opportunity introduced him to the up-and-coming field of space law.
“I went to law school with the idea that I was going to really try the buffet of law, so to speak, a little bit of everything, and see what kind of meal I want for life,” says Radisic.
Following his internship with UNODC, Radisic successfully completed an internship with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), followed by an ongoing legal fellowship with the American National Space Society (NSS) and another internship with the European Space Agency (ESA).
“Working for a space agency is probably one of the most exciting things that you can do as a young law student,” he says. “It has invigorated my time in law school and given me a lot of energy and excitement.”