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Law Students willingly work overtime to present at Accessing Justice

Nine Robson Hall students and three professors will take part in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Justice Studies’ annual thematic conference on Accessing Justice

April 27, 2018 — 

A total of nine students and three professors from the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Faculty of Law will take part in the annual conference on Accessing Justice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Access, Justice, Law and Orderhosted at the University of Winnipeg by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Justice Studies (CIJS), May 9 – 11, 2018. This is the most number of representatives from Robson Hall taking part in the conference’s eight-year history.

Associate Professor Richard Jochelson, who worked with Assistant Professor Bruce Curran to submit eight Robson Hall students abstracts to the conference, will each chair panels consisting of Robson Hall students on May 11 at 1:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., titled “Legal Perspectives on Justice and Access: Delay, Denial, Identity and Due Process” and “Legal Perspectives on Justice and Access: Liminal Justice – Youth, Mental Health and Roadside,” respectively. Remarkably, the students will be presenting their own research products.

The first panel will consist of three Robson Hall student papers: “‘Guys and Dolls’: The Constitutionality of Punishing Perversion” by  Melanie Labossiere; “Of Charters and Tsars: A Comparative Overview of the History of Prostitution Laws in Canada and the Russian Federation” by Anna Tourtchaninova and “Canadian Court Delay in a Post-Jordan Era: Analysis of Jurisprudence and Public Policy Recommendations” by Kasia Kieloch.

The latter panel will consist of four Robson Hall student papers: “Young Offenders Facing Adult Sentences in Canada” by Lydia Etich; “Interdisciplinary Criminal Advocacy Teams and Innovative Mental Health Strategies” by Kelly Kennedy; “R. v. Thomsen Thirty Years Later: Revisiting the Right to Counsel During Approved Screening Device Demands” by Stephen Sisson and “Updating Exclusion of Evidence Analysis in Canadian Criminal Cases” by Ben Johnson.

Ryan Ziegler will be presenting his paper “Stanley, Cormier and the Erasure of Wrongful Convictions – Presumptive Guilt as Justice” at 3:45-4:45 on Thursday May 10.

That is not the end of Robson Hall’s impressive contributions. Assistant Professor Adriane Porcin will be presenting her work on “Confidentiality and Self-Determination” on a panel addressing issues in “Accessing Information and Accessing Justice in Colonial Contexts.” Her panel takes place on May 11that 1:45p.m. First-year law student Brendan Roziere will co-present a joint authored paper on “Accessing Records on Police Militarization and SWAT Teams in Canada”. This presentation will take place on May 10, during the 10:45 a.m. panel on “Surveillance, Policing and Power.” The conference’s full schedule is available online at the CIJS website.

“When I saw the quality of the student research this last year, I recognized that their work was comparable to the kind of work being done by scholars of criminal justice in Canada and beyond,” said Jochelson, explaining how Robson Hall’s major involvement in this year’s conference came about. “I realized they should be encouraged to share their unique findings with the academic and practitioner communities given the high quality of their work. We are very fortunate at Robson Hall to have world class minds as learners in our classrooms. This is a chance for them to communicate their brilliant ideas to a broader audience.”

Bruce Curran, incoming Associate Dean of Students at Robson Hall notes “I am delighted to see these students presenting their excellent research beyond the classroom at the Accessing Justice Conference.  This research began in Professor Jochelson’s Charter Crim class and in directed paper studies, and will now, due to the students’ passion for their important topics and Professor Jochelson’s encouragement, get disseminated to a broader audience.”  Dr. Curran notes that “As a law school community, we can take pride in how they are working towards strengthening the link between legal education and legal scholarship.”

Second-year law student Melanie Labossiere jumped at the chance to take part in the conference. “I was incredibly excited when Professor Jochelson mentioned this opportunity to me,” she said. “My paper, titled “Guys and Dolls”: The Constitutionality of Punishing Perversion, focuses on the complex legal and moral issues that accompany a controversial technological development: Child sex dolls. I look forward to presenting my paper and receiving feedback that may help shape my continued research.”

Having the opportunity to share her research with a broader audience carries great significance for second-year law student Kelly Kennedy, who will showcase her paper on Interdisciplinary Criminal Advocacy Teams. “There hasn’t been a research paper I have written that I have been more personally invested in,” she said. “Growing up, I was raised by a parent who struggled with psychiatric illness. That experience really shaped the course of my life and I wrote this paper with his memory in mind.”

Kennedy said she has invested a lot of time over the years to understanding the prevalence of vulnerable people who end up in the criminal justice system, and what happens to them as a result of being so involved. “The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health claims that the “criminal justice system is rapidly becoming the largest mental health provider in the country,”” she said. “I think it is sad that we are criminalizing such a vulnerable population of people and I feel very strongly that we could be doing things differently within the legal profession.”

Kennedy’s paper explores the concept of an Interdisciplinary Criminal Advocacy Team (ICAT), an innovative one stop shop that provides case management and long-term interventions to assist vulnerable individuals in conflict with the law to prevent their advancement to subsequent stages within the criminal justice system. This model of treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment is a concept Kennedy hopes one day to construct through a non-profit structure. “At this conference I hope to engage with the panel on my research and be challenged on my ideas” she said.

The students will have the opportunity to publish their work with the academic journal, the Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research (IJR)should their final drafts pass a peer reviewed process.

“The students should be celebrated for sharing their research work with a community of international scholars, because it shows their passion for leaning and commitment to knowledge mobilization in the area of criminal law,” said Jochelson, noting that the students will be attending the conference outside of their regular studies, after exams. “It is quite an achievement for them,” Jochelson observed. “The work had to be vetted by a selection committee before acceptance as well.”

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