The Law Foundation of BC Pledges $5 million to UVic Law

Funding will help build national centre for Indigenous law

The Law Foundation of BC Pledges $5 million to UVic Law

University of Victoria Law (“UVic Law”) is at the leading edge of legal education in Canada and has become a world leader in Indigenous law. With the launch of the joint degree program in Canadian common law and Indigenous legal orders and the rapid expansion of the Indigenous Law Research Unit, a culturally appropriate space to house these programs is crucial.

The Law Foundation of BC (“Law Foundation”) has long been an integral financial supporter of UVic Law’s clinical and social justice programs, including the:

  • Environmental Law Centre;
  • Access to Justice Centre for Excellence;
  • Diversity Access Grant;
  • Law Centre Clinical program;
  • Law Centre Family Law
    Advocate; and
  • Public Interest law work

A $5 million pledge from the Law Foundation, subject to obtaining the remainder of the funding, has allowed us to garner further private and government funding, and we are very optimistic that we will reach our goal of a further $18.9 million in order to begin construction of the building. We are extremely grateful for the advice and encouragement we received from the Law Foundation’s Executive Director Wayne Robertson and our Program Director, Tim Bailey. We’re also grateful to Liz Eby, UVic Law’s fundraising officer for all of her hard work finalizing this impactful and significant financial pledge.

We are well on our way to meeting our fundraising goal. The March 2019 federal budget committed $9.1 million to help fund the new building, which will house the world’s first joint degree in Indigenous legal orders and Canadian common law (JD/JID) launched at UVic last September. The design of the building will reflect modern and traditional values of the Coast Salish peoples, welcoming students, academics and community members from all nations for engagement, debate and public education.

The centre will also house the Indigenous Law Research Unit (“ILRU”), which is a world leader in the study and application of Indigenous law. ILRU has partnered with more than 50 Indigenous communities across Canada on legal research questions related to lands, water, governance, citizenship, gender and human rights, harms and injuries, and child welfare, and works with institutions across the globe to revitalize and rebuild Indigenous legal orders. It will also house the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence and the Environmental Law Centre.

The centre, to be built as an addition to the current UVic law building, will be designed to reflect and honour the long-standing relationships between the law school and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples. It will include public lecture theatres, faculty and staff offices, an Elders’ room and spaces for gathering, ceremony, and sharing of histories and knowledge.

The building’s state-of-the-art digital capabilities will enable students to connect with their home territories and allow communities to share their legal traditions with one another. It will also allow UVic to host conferences, public workshops, research and partnerships for faculty, students and visitors. Planning for the building is in the community consultation and early design phase.

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