Memorial to explore feasibility of law school

Feb. 25, 2013
Memorial University will again explore the feasibility of a law school. The university last explored the law school option in 1987.

Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean, Faculty of Arts, will chair a committee that includes additional university membership, a representative of the provincial legal community and an external voice.

The review will be restricted to consideration of a faculty of law as a professional school, as opposed to a degree program or department of law. The review will also examine the demographics of existing Canadian law schools, current and future needs for more lawyers, and benefits to Memorial, among other goals.

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 not at that time.

Last year, the Law Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial branch of the Canadian Bar Association supported a review of the concept of a faculty of law, a position later endorsed by the chief justice of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s an appropriate time to again examine the feasibility of establishing a law school at Memorial,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. “It’s been 25 years since the university last reviewed this avenue, and the local legal community is supportive of another review.”

In addition to Dr. Phillips, the committee includes Morgan Cooper, Memorial’s director of Faculty Relations and a lawyer; Bert Riggs, archivist at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives, QEII Library; Heather Clarke, PhD student in the Faculty of Business; Justice A.E. (Fonse) Faour, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division; and Dr. Peter MacKinnon, president emeritus and former dean of law, University of Saskatchewan.

The committee is expected to present a report later this year.


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