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Law school feasibility study completed

Dec. 12, 2013

A report on the feasibility of a law school at Memorial University has been completed.

The report has been delivered to President Gary Kachanoski. 

“I’d like to thank the members of the task force, chaired by Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean of the Faculty of Arts, for their efforts in undertaking this review on the feasibility of a law school at Memorial University,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “I have sent it to the Vice-Presidents Council for review.”

The committee has unanimously recommended that Memorial University consider establishing a law school. Once external and internal consultation on the report is completed, the university administration will decide on next steps.

The committee was asked to restrict their review to consideration of a faculty of law as a professional school, as opposed to a legal studies degree program or department of law.

The committee was also asked to examine the demographics of existing Canadian law schools, the current and future needs for more lawyers, and benefits to Memorial, among other goals. 

Over the past six months, the committee met with numerous stakeholders including members of the judiciary and the legal profession, and held public consultations across the province, including at the St. John’s campus, Grenfell Campus and the Labrador Institute.

“Chairing this committee has been an exciting and educational experience for me,” said Dr. Phillips. “On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank all those who took the time to meet with us, send emails and answer the online questionnaire over the past several months. 

“And I would also like to thank the members of the committee for their dedication, insight and hard work on the report.” 

The committee consisted of: Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean of Faculty of Arts; Heather M. Clarke, PhD candidate, Faculty of Business Administration (withdrew July 2013); Morgan Cooper, associate vice-president (academic) Faculty Affairs; Alphonse E. Faour, justice, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, trial division; Peter McKinnon, president emeritus and former dean of law, University of Saskatchewan; Bert Riggs, head of archives and special collections, Queen Elizabeth II Library; Janet Harron, communications coordinator, Faculty of Arts; and Karen Kennedy, internal consultant, Provost’s Office.

There have been two previous considerations by the university of establishing a law school. The Harris Report, 1976, concluded that there was no demonstrated need for a law school at Memorial, and the Bruce Report, 1987, which endorsed a law school in principle, but due to fiscal constraints, did not recommend action at that time.

The university welcomes comments from members of the public regarding the possibilities proposed by the report. The report is available at http://www.mun.ca/president/initiatives/taskforce.php and comments about the report can be sent to Tracey Pittman, co-ordinator of the Vice-Presidents Council, at tpittman@mun.ca until Jan. 31, 2014. 


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