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Go-to legal researcher says farewell to Manitoba

Robson Hall Law Professor leaving to teach at world’s first Joint Common Law and Indigenous law degree program

April 27, 2018 — 

David Milward has long been a go-to legal expert for media outlets seeking commentary for news stories regarding over-representation of or lack of fairness towards Aboriginal representation in Canada’s criminal justice or child welfare systems. Recently, journalists have sought him out to comment on stories like the Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine murder trials, and he himself penned a comprehensive opinion piece that appeared in MacLean’s Magazine.

On Monday April 23, 2018, he shared the following news with his colleagues at Robson Hall Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba:

Greetings everyone.

I wish to advise all of you that I have accepted an offer to join the University of Victoria as an Associate Professor of Law starting July 1, 2018. Victoria is about to commence the world’s first ever Joint Degree in both Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders. It is modeled after McGill’s joint degree in both Common Law and Civil Law, but with an emphasis on both Common Law and the laws of several Indigenous societies throughout Canada. One of my key responsibilities will be to teach a course on Transsystemic Criminal Law that includes both Canadian criminal law and principles of Cree law that governed social conflicts.

I wish also to extend my heartfelt thanks to colleagues, staff and students alike who helped make my experience with the University of Manitoba a positive one. I can honestly say that in the years that I was here, Robson Hall was truly the best place for me. Authoring a book on forensic science evidence with the late Dr. Charles Ferguson, assisting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with completing its final reports on Indigenous justice issues, and working with several Indigenous non-profit organizations like Onashowewin and Ka Ni Kahnichihk, these were opportunities that I could not have had anywhere else. Add to that a wonderful set of colleagues, a very helpful support staff, and numerous students over the years that I will remember fondly, I would not have wanted to be anywhere else but Robson Hall in the time that I spent here.

However, the opportunity that has arisen is just too exciting and unique to pass up on. It truly feels like the natural turn of the page for me, and is something that I am truly looking forward to becoming a part of. To call it my dream job does not even begin to describe it. I will certainly remember all of you fondly, and also look forward to continued associations and acquaintances in the years to come.

Dr. David Milward
Associate Professor

Associate Professor David Milward first came to Robson Hall in 2009 after completing his PhD in Law at the University of British Columbia. An alumnus of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law for both his LL.B. and LL.M., he focused his teaching and research interests early on in the area of Indigenous people and the Canadian Criminal Justice System. Throughout his career teaching at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, he held various research grants that enabled his investigations into Aboriginal over-representations in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. In 2010, he researched Canada’s use of the Mr. Big investigative technique with assistance from the Manitoba Legal Research Institute. Among Dr. Milward’s major undertakings while at Robson Hall were co-authoring the Gladue Handbook: A Resource for Justice System Participants in Manitoba, along with Debra Parkes, Steven Keesic, and Janine Seymour (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2012), and publishing the award-winning book, Aboriginal Justice and the Charter: Realizing a Culturally Sensitive Interpretation of Legal Rights in Canada (Vancouver: U.B.C. Press, 2012). In 2013 and 2014, he turned his focus to examining Aboriginal over-representation of Aboriginal families in child welfare apprehensions and non-adversarial alternatives to resolving child welfare matters, publishing the report, Children Need Families, Not Courtrooms: Alternatives to Adversarial Litigation in Child Welfare (Winnipeg: Children’s Advocate Office of Manitoba, 2016). In 2017, Dr. Milward co-authored with the late Dr. Charles Ferguson, The Art of Science in the Canadian Justice System: A Reflection on my Experiences as an Expert Witness (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2017) and continues to focus his research on Indigenous people and the Canadian criminal justice system. He is a member of the Beardy’s and Okemasis’ First Nation in Saskatchewan.

“Dr. Milward’s achievements have made the University of Manitoba community very proud,” said Dr. Jonathan Black-Branch, Dean of Law. “The faculty, staff and students at Robson Hall will miss Dr. Milward and wish him all the best in his future position.”

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