Current Projects

Court-based Projects

Queen’s Bench Amicus Project

In collaboration with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), this project assists self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil claims in Calgary’s Queen’s Bench Masters and Justice Chambers. Volunteer lawyers act as amicus curiae and appear in morning chambers to assist SRLs. This project also includes a “storefront” afternoon shift where SRLs can receive summary legal information regarding civil matters. Students participate by providing assistance with triage, client intake, client evaluation, research, and completion of project documentation and court forms. Students can also assist with procedural matters in morning chambers, thereby having an opportunity to practice oral advocacy and provide legal or referral information.

Civil Claims Duty Counsel

In collaboration with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), this civil litigation project assists self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil claims in Provincial Court. Students on this project assist volunteer lawyers (all major Calgary firms participate in this project – so this is a great networking opportunity) in interviewing clients, providing clients with legal information, and assisting in filling out the required documentation.

Direct Legal Assistance

Human Rights Project

Students will support volunteer lawyers as they provide legal assistance to self-represented claimants and respondents before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Students will have the opportunity to interview clients and conduct legal research. The Alberta Human Rights Act establishes the Alberta Human Rights Commission to carry out functions under the Act. The purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act is to ensure that all Albertans are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination.

Trans ID Clinic

PBSC’s Trans ID Clinic is run in partnership with the Skipping Stone Foundation and supervising lawyers from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Skipping Stone is a Calgary-based not-for-profit whose mission is to support and empower trans and gender diverse youth and their families in the province of Alberta. The Trans ID Clinic provides free legal information, form-filling services, and referrals in a learning space that strives to be trans-positive, non-judgemental, anti-oppressive, and inclusive. Students on this project will assist members of the trans community with applications to change names and gender markers on government-issued identification.

Legal Research & Writing

LEAF Case Monitoring Project

LEAF is a national, charitable, non-profit organization, founded in 1985. LEAF works to advance the substantive equality rights of women and girls in Canada through litigation, law reform, and public education using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The student volunteer on this project will work with a team of law students from across Canada to identify and summarize cases and/or law reform initiatives concerning substantive equality rights of women and girls in Canada, by regularly monitoring court websites, legal databases, legislative sites, and media reports for their assigned topics (i.e. sexual violence). These student volunteers will then summarize relevant cases and/or law reform projects.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association – Talk Rights

One student will research and develop subject expertise in one or more timely civil liberties issue(s) in Canada and develop accessible information for the public. Past subject areas from which topics may be refined include national security, equality rights, privacy, free expression, protest rights and free assembly, etc. The student will work with CCLA staff to determine the kinds of rights materials that would be useful to the public on the topic and will work on researching and drafting those materials. Depending on the nature of the agreed-upon products (which may be in a wide range of formats, such as a short blog post or opinion piece, a resource list on a topic, an accessible case analysis on a topic of public interest, an infographic, a podcast or video on a rights issue or topic) the student will be expected to produce from 3-5 pieces of work over the course of the year.

CLG Indigenous Legal Information Project

With assistance from Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG), students will participate in the creation of public legal education materials focused on areas of law most often affecting Indigenous populations. Students will research common legal issues and create three public legal education resources and one public legal education workshop to assist CLG’s Indigenous Outreach Program. These materials will be provided to Indigenous clients obtaining assistance from Calgary Legal Guidance. Research topics will include: Indian Day Schools Class Action; Wills (Urban and On-Reserve); Voting Off-Reserve; and Applying for a Pardon.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association – Rights Watch

The student on this project will be assigned a particular Canadian jurisdiction to monitor and will do so by reviewing significant reports by rights-protecting and other public bodies. The student will review the report(s) and provide CCLA with a memo summarizing the key civil liberties issues that are raised in the report. The purpose of the memo is to allow CCLA to monitor key civil liberties issues in all jurisdictions across the country and consider issues and areas for future advocacy and/or litigation.

Not In My City Project

The volunteer organization Not In My City (NIMC) was founded by Canadian Country Music Artist Paul Brandt. NIMC targets sexual exploitation and human trafficking in specific locations in Canada. One of the goals of the organization is to make it harder for individuals to use cyberspace for the illegal purposes of human trafficking, sharing child pornography, etc. NIMC recognizes that many jurisdictions are currently struggling to keep up with the ever-changing nature of technology, especially in regard to the internet and social media/hosting platforms. Left unchecked, these platforms have allowed those who seek to abuse vulnerable persons and profit from human trafficking a virtual space to do so, most dangerously through the uploading and sharing of child pornography.

Students on this project will work together to research the role of telecommunications law and the regulatory regime in deterring cyber communications that allow for human trafficking to operate. They will work with the Supervising Lawyer and members of NIMC to review domestic and international legislation, identify distinctions and contrast other jurisdictional law with that of Canadian legislation, and to identify changes that could be advocated for at the federal and possibly provincial level by NIMC.

French Legal Research Project

In collaboration with the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (AJEFA – French-speaking Legal Professionals Association of Alberta), the student on this project will assess and create an inventory of the legal information resources available in French and English in Alberta and identify areas where there is little to no information available in French. The student will work with AJEFA and the supervising lawyer to identify legal questions pertinent to the French-speaking community of Alberta (i.e. French-language legal rights in Alberta) and select a legal resource that requires French translation and produce the necessary French legal information resource. The student on this project has the opportunity to forge connections through working closely with AJEFA and the supervising lawyer, which provides for a long-term professional network.

Public Legal Education Projects

Elementary School Mock Trial

Students in this project will deliver a 4-workshop series of presentations to students at 2-4 elementary schools within Calgary to prepare them to participate in an interactive mock trial. The elementary students will play the roles of clients, lawyers, and witnesses. PBSC students will be tasked with developing creative and interactive teaching methods to deliver the content to the students. There will also be an opportunity to accompany the youth on a tour of the Calgary Courts Centre and the McCarthy Tétrault LLP Office. Each student volunteer will be expected to attend at least one workshop per semester.

Indigenous Youth Outreach Project

Students in this project will deliver 5 workshops to high school students at Siksika Outreach School. The workshops prepare students to participate in a final mock trial at the Siksika Nation Provincial Court where they will play the roles of clients, lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and court clerks. The goal of the program is to provide Indigenous students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of the justice system, develop critical thinking and leadership skills, and to dream big about their educational goals. The curriculum for the project has been developed specifically for Indigenous youth by the Ontario Justice Education Network and LEVEL. Students assigned to this project will attend a cultural education training session in October in order to deliver effective presentations in accordance with Indigenous customs.

French Youth Law Project

In collaboration with the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (French-speaking Legal Professionals Association of Alberta), students on this project will deliver legal education presentations in French to students at Francophone or French immersion schools throughout Calgary on cyber-bullying and youth and the law.

Discovery House

Discovery House is a non-profit organization providing a continuum of care to women and their children fleeing domestic violence. Students on this project will deliver 6 legal information presentations to the Discovery House staff and their clients on topics including: emergency protection orders; parenting orders, child support and visitation rights; renting and domestic violence; immigration law and domestic violence; preparing for court proceedings; and how mental health and addictions can affect family law matters. Student volunteers are required to conduct at least 1 presentation per semester.

The Consent Project

The Consent Project is a public legal education initiative targeted at students grades 8-12. The project focuses on consent education and the legal and practical issues surrounding consent, sexual activity, and sexual assault. The workshops are designed to help students understand their rights and responsibilities with respect to sexuality and consent, particularly when it comes to their intimate relationships. Topics covered include: the meaning of consent, the Criminal Code as it applies to consent, a discussion of the sexual activities that require consent, sexting, and child pornography. Students will be required to conduct a minimum of 3 presentations per semester.

The Hearsay Podcast

Students will create eight 30-minute legal education podcasts on current legal topics. Student on this project will spend their time conducting legal research on the topics, preparing interview questions for expert guests, and recording and editing the podcasts at the CJSW 90.9FM studio located on the UCalgary campus. Students will develop episode content and research topics under supervision within the Faculty of Law. Episodes will be aired on CJSW 90.9FM, the University of Calgary’s student-run radio station, and will also be available online via the CJSW website, Google Play, iTunes, and Spotify. CJSW 90.9FM will provide audio recording and editing training.