104 Facilities and Affiliations
Located on campus, the Law Centre contains the John A Weir Memorial Law Library, Faculty offices, and classrooms. It also houses the Alberta Law Reform Institute, the Health Law Institute, the Centre for Constitutional Studies, and the John V Decore Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, as well as many student organizations.
John A Weir Memorial Law Library
The Law Library has always occupied a central position in the lives of the students and professors. It is the Faculty's primary research laboratory and most prized resource, for in it is found the raw data that comprises the law—cases, statutes, texts and journals.
The Weir Law Library has a collection of approximately 390,000 volumes, including the law reports and statutes for Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and many Commonwealth countries. It receives nearly 4,000 serial publications and acquires treatises from around the world, providing students with a wide coverage of current legal thought and historical sources. The library's print collection is supplemented by information in electronic form. The study and research needs of the students and Faculty are met by a full range of library services including library orientation and tours, reference and inter-library loan services, and instruction in research methods. The library's collection is supplemented by access to computer-assisted research services which include European and American data bases as well as internally developed data bases. Computer-based research instruction is compulsory in the first year of LLB studies. Continued training is available to second-year, third-year and graduate students.
Technology at the Law Centre
The computer lab is located in the Law Centre. Up-to-date software is installed in the lab, with Microsoft Office. Many classrooms are now equipped as “smart” classrooms. The Law Centre has full wireless coverage.
The Alberta Law Reform Institute
The Alberta Law Reform Institute is the primary law reform agency for Alberta. Sited at the Law Centre, the Institute has access to what is acknowledged as one of the finest law libraries in the country, ready access to qualified consultants and critics and a stimulating environment in which to carry out law reform work. Through its tripartite founding agreement and its Board appointments, the Institute has a strong relationship with the Law Faculty, the Law Society of Alberta and the Alberta Department of Justice. This unique arrangement has enhanced the independence, objectivity and credibility of the Institute. When Institute recommendations are forwarded to the provincial government, they arrive with the status of the body officially charged with law reform activity in the Province, with a background of excellence of research, and with a practical awareness that has led to the implementation of many of the Institute recommendations.
The Institute has been the catalyst for many changes in the Alberta legal system. Some of these changes have been of a systematic nature and have had a significant impact on the life of Albertans. The introduction of the Business Corporations Act, the Matrimonial Property Act, the Arbitration Act and the Civil Enforcement Act have had a huge effect on Alberta's legal system. Its work on the Alberta Rules of Court shall have an equally profound effect. Other projects have been smaller in scope, but of no less importance, such as the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act, Survivorship Act and Powers of Attorney Act. The Institute is an important contributor to the legislative process, and its input on policy and legislative implementation is in demand. It plays a significant role in the harmonization of law, through its participation in the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.
The Centre for Constitutional Studies
The Centre for Constitutional Studies was established in 1987 through the collaborative efforts of the Departments of History and Political Science and the Faculty of Law. The Centre was founded to encourage and facilitate the interdisciplinary study of constitutional matters both nationally and internationally. The Centre's research activities are complemented by an educational program consisting of public lectures, conferences and publications. The object of the Centre's program of research activities has been to stimulate thinking about subjects of constitutional concern from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Centre research projects have ranged from studies of Canadian constitutional reform to the powers of the police; from Charter rights and social rights to Aboriginal self-government.
The Centre's active publication program covers a range of constitutional subjects. Centre projects and conferences have culminated in a series of books which have been published in association with legal publishers and university presses. The Centre regularly publishes two periodicals, Constitutional Forum Constitutionnel and the Review of Constitutional Studies These include timely commentaries and scholarly essays with contributions from established and emerging scholars. The Centre has hosted a variety of conferences, symposia, and panel discussions on topics of national importance, involving scholars from a variety of disciplines, government officials, lawyers, and the general public.
Health Law Institute
The Health Law Institute was established in 1977 by Madam Justice Ellen Picard, then a Professor in the Faculty of Law. The Institute has a dual mandate: to conduct research and to provide legal education through its programs and activities. It endeavours to address significant developments in legislation, case law and new medical technologies. As a research centre, the Institute consults and collaborates with experts in other disciplines. The Institute responds to developments in health law by providing current, reliable information on all aspects of health law to health-care professionals, members of the practising bar and the public. The resources and services of the Institute are available for contract research to public agencies and private organizations. The Health Law Institute publishes two periodicals. The Health Law Journal offers authoritative research on medical/legal issues of interest to health-care and legal professionals and to the academic community. The Health Law Review meets the needs of a more general audience with an interest in current developments in health law.
Institute staff are available to deliver lectures and presentations in response to requests from professional and business organizations and public interest groups. In addition, the Institute co-sponsored the First International Conference on DNA Sampling, held in September 1996, in Montreal, and hosted the second International Conference in Edmonton in 1998. In September 2002, the Institute hosted a Health Law Conference to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The Institute invites internationally recognized speakers to address significant issues of current interest. The Annual Picard Lecture in Health Law has featured a number of distinguished scholars in the field. The University of Alberta has recognized Health Law and Policy as one of its emerging areas of excellence.
The Health Law Science Policy (HeaLS) Group comprises of faculty members and research associates working in the areas of health law and science policy. HeaLS conducts health law and science policy research, disseminates scholarly outputs and policy work to a broad interdisciplinary community, facilitates collaborative opportunities with national and internationally based researchers and organizations, and attracts top graduate students to the Faculty of Law.
Student Services in the Faculty of Law is designed to help students positively transition in, through, and out of law school. The office’s open door policy invites all prospective and current students to visit and take advantage of the many services offered that aim to support academic success and overall student health and well-being. These services include: admissions information and advising for prospective students, guidance and practical support for current students in all aspects of their career search, financial information for the Faculty and University scholarships, bursaries, and awards program, counselling on both academic and personal matters and helping to accommodate students with special circumstances, representing student concerns to various Faculty administration to decision making, and providing information on international exchanges and other rewarding opportunities. A collaborative relationship exists with Indigenous Academic Services and with the University’s Aboriginal Student Services Centre to promote a supportive academic environment for Indigenous students. Indigenous Academic Services assists interested and qualified Aboriginal students achieve their goals of obtaining a legal education. The Student Services office also works closely with the University’s Student Services and can refer students based on their needs.
Aboriginal Law Students' Association
The Aboriginal Law Students' Association is a student club which promotes awareness and understanding of Aboriginal issues and advocating reform. This is accomplished through sponsoring speakers and other activities. The group acts as a support network for Aboriginal students. Membership is open to all Law students.
Alberta Law Review
The Alberta Law Review is a scholarly legal journal published four times annually by second- and third-year law students in consultation with Faculty and members of the Law Society of Alberta. Past editors have become justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen's Bench. The Law Review has existed since 1955. Subscribers include law firms and sole legal practitioners in Alberta, as well as judges, students, academics, universities and libraries worldwide.
The Articling Committee facilitates the application and interview process for students seeking articles. The Committee liaises between law firms and students by gathering and providing information about the firms, posting notices of available articling and summer legal employment positions, and providing information about articling match programs. In addition, the Committee annually organizes Career Days, a forum where students and prospective employers may meet. Legal career and articling information with respect to Alberta and other provinces is maintained by the Committee and made available to law students.
Canons of Construction
Since the early 1970s, Law students have published the Canons of Construction: The Law Students' Newspaper. Its mandate is to inform and entertain the university legal community. It is funded by the sale of sponsorships and advertising. Students are encouraged to volunteer as Canons staff in the areas of reporting, sales, cartoons and distribution. Submissions of law school news and views to the Canons are welcome.
Law Students' Association
The Law Students' Association (LSA) is a committee that promotes and fosters academic, cultural, social, intellectual and professional activities for the student body. As well as organizing social and sporting events, the LSA provides services to its members such as lockers, a video games room, photocopiers, cable television, a student directory, and an annual yearbook. The LSA provides a link between administration and students and seeks to make the three years at the Faculty both enjoyable and educational.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is a network of law schools and community organizations that matches law students who want to do pro bono work during the academic year and summer with public organizations, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, tribunals, legal clinics and law firms. Students spend approximately three hours a week during the semester performing a variety of activities. Participating students can gain practical experience while working with national or community organizations. A placement is an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom and to contribute to the development of a community or a cause, with the benefit of supervision by a member of the bar.
Student Legal Services
Since 1971, Student Legal Services has been a non-profit charitable organization of Law students providing legal assistance and information to people who do not qualify for Legal Aid and who cannot afford a lawyer. The largest student legal aid clinic in Canada, SLS assists over 10,000 people each year. Over 250 law students volunteer each year to work on various projects including criminal law, civil law (including administrative law), family law, student appeals, legal education and law reform. SLS has two offices in Edmonton. Emily Murphy House, a historic site and once the home of the first woman magistrate in the British Empire, is the main base of operation for SLS on campus. In addition, the Corona Criminal office operates in the downtown area. Services vary from court appearances in criminal and civil law matters to answering telephone inquiries for information or assisting individuals in the completion of divorce applications in clinics hosted by the family law project. SLS engages in legal research and education in areas of general community interest and concern.
Women's Law Forum / NAWL
The Women's Law Forum is the University of Alberta's National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) caucus. The goals of the Women's Law Forum/NAWL include promoting effective participation of women in the study, practice and development of law including increased involvement in the law-making process, promoting the meaning and importance of feminism within the law school and the community at large, and providing a focus for discussion and action on issues related to women and the law.
Other Organizations and Activities
Other student organizations and activities include a law student branch of the Canadian Bar Association, the Environmental Law Students Society, The Golden Bearristers Rugby Club, the Law Show, the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity, Vin Ordinaire wine tasting club, the Women's Running Club, International Law Students' Association, OUTLaw, Parents in Law, Law Students Philanthropy, Women's Law Forum, Law and Older and Women's Rugby.