Has our justice system developed as a series of ad hoc measures, policies and programs or has it been designed according to a planned vision? This question is being asked more broadly in Law Schools as legal academics and lawyers bring design principles to the question of where and how people access justice. It is a question which may lead to suprising, disruptive and absolutely necessary answers. Continue reading “Justice by Design”
In March of 2015, a remarkable milestone was crossed. Osgoode’s largest ever student led fundraising campaign, aimed at debt relief and financial accessibility, crossed its goal of raising $125,000.00 to coincide with Osgoode Hall Law School’s 125th Anniversary. Our aim was for Osgoode’s Alumni to match that amount through this year’s Annual Fund campaign but, inspired by our students’ ambition, the Osgoode Annual Fund raised a record amount, far exceeding the $125K match. And the Law School itself matched the $125K as well. So, in total, in this first year of making debt relief a campaign priority, Osgoode has been able to set aside close to $400,000.00 in new and much needed accessibility funding. While the aggregate numbers are meaningful, so is every individual donation that made it possible. In this and a series of posts to follow, I profile some of the visionary donors who are investing now to ensure those who receive an amazing legal education at Osgoode are not precluded from putting it into action because of high debt loads. One such donor is Richard Bogoroch, the founding partner of Bogoroch & Associates LLP. Continue reading “Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education”
The first time I found my way to York’s sprawling (and then mostly barren) campus was as a teenager, to help assemble a Jewish magazine called Images. I was tagging along with my older sister, who was somehow involved in the publication (though she never attended York). This would have been in 1979 or so. Little did I know how much Jewish community life, or York University, was to feature in my future. This blog series is intended to paint a picture of Jewish life at York – not the stories you will typically read, but the more interesting and personal ones. Each entry will be by a member of the York community – past and present – with a story to tell. The first one will be my own. These will also be cross-posted at CIJA’s The Exchange. Continue reading “The Wellspring of Jewish Life at York”
This post was first published on the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) blog on April 7, 2015 at http://www.acpd-calt.org/?page_id=2357
As this term and academic year draw to a close, the thoughts of several Deans will turn to broader trends and lessons learned. I wanted to share one such development based on my experience at Osgoode Hall Law School. This year more than any other, it is becoming apparent that art in legal education is no fad but. Art no longer seems like an interesting distraction or peripheral gloss in legal education, but is becoming central to our mission and how we can best fulfill it. Continue reading “Is Art a Fad or the Future of Legal Education?”
Bill C-51 has emerged as a showdown between those who are fearful and want more security in an insecure world and those who are fearful and want more freedom from the things the first group might have in mind to make us more secure.
While a version of the Bill will almost certainly pass (the Tories have a majority government with, arguably, a pretty clear mandate for exactly the policy approach they are adopting), its reverberations into the election campaign to come brings additional heat and intensity to the debate. While the opposition parties differ on whether this should happen before or after the aforementioned election, they are united in the desire for more oversight. It is hard to argue against more oversight, but also, as I suggest below, perhaps too easy simply to argue for it.
I suspect few – and perhaps remarkably few – of those who argue for more oversight have a clear sense of what it would involve, its possibilities, and perhaps most importantly, its limits.
I offer the thoughts below in response to the call for input by the “Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group” and specifically to their consultation paper “Developing Strategies for Change.” [and please note this submission was submitted March 1, 2015 and will be cross posted by the Law Society in due course]
I wish to begin by applauding the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) for this initiative and for highlighting the voices of racialized licensees, and more broadly the value of diversity, in our community. Having demonstrated that change is needed, however, the LSUC must now do all it can to deliver on that change, and be seen to have done all it could in that regard!
[this commentary originally published by Canadian Lawyer at http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5460/Carter-dying-with-dignity-now-comes-the-hard-part.html]
I have not run into anyone yet without strong views to share on the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday in Carter to strike down the assisted suicide prohibition in the Criminal Code. In my circles, those views have been mostly positive but I respect the depth of feeling on this issue and those for whom assisted suicide is antithetical to their beliefs, whether religious or based on policy concerns in the desire to protect the welfare of vulnerable people. Many will be writing on the leadership demonstrated by the Court, or the impact of Carter on Charter jurisprudence, or how this represents yet another setback for the Harper Tories from the McLachlin Court. My interest is more in where we go from here.
I have the pleasure this year to be one of the Flip Your Wig Ambassadors. If you haven’t heard, Flip Your Wig is a campaign now underway to raise awareness and resources about access to justice. At the launch of the campaign held earlier in January at the Law Society of Upper Canada, I mentioned the story of Zahra Abdille, the public health nurse killed with her two children in November 2014 in an instance of suspected domestic violence. Abdille was reported to have sought but been unable to obtain legal assistance – an all too common experience for women caught up in domestic disputes.
2014 was a remarkable year in Canadian legal news. These are, in my view, the top 10 stories (in no particular order):
I am continually inspired by our students – their energy, leadership, ideas and passion. While this has been mentioned from time to time in my blog, it struck me as an oversight not to have devoted a post to this topic. And the timing has never been more right. Just this term, law students at Osgoode have called the Canadian Judicial Council to account for its prosecution of Justice Lori Douglas, undertaken an unprecedented campaign to raise funds for debt relief, led a campaign to oppose the law program at Trinity Western University and engaged in public education around race and police violence. And, in each case, students have influential, difference-makers not just at the Law School and in the University, but within broader communities and on some of the most important issues of our time.