Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Faculty of Law. When lawyers advise clients they help the law to accomplish both its function as a system of social settlement, and the respect for the governed reflected in its processes and structure – i.e. the rule of law. A lawyer can only do so, however, if his/her advice provides an objectively reasonable assessment of the law, while also facilitating the accomplishment of the client’s goals and objectives. The lawyer as advisor is neither an advocate for the client’s goals, nor an adjudicator of the legality of those goals. Rather, the lawyer’s advising role has an irreducible duality, requiring good faith respect for both the law and the client – not unlike the attitude taken by a friend when offering advice.Unfortunately, the law governing Canadian lawyers does not provide sufficient guidance to lawyers as to their obligations when advising clients.

About the speaker:
Alice Woolley is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary. Prior to joining the Faculty in 2004 Professor Woolley practiced law in Calgary, working in the areas of utility regulation and civil litigation. As an academic, she specializes in legal ethics and professional regulation, with a particular interest in the intersection between professional regulation, moral philosophy and moral psychology. Professor Woolley is the author of Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics in Canada and co-editor and co-author of Lawyers’ Ethics and Professional Regulation (2d ed.). She has published articles on topics such as the good character requirement for law society admission, the independence of the bar, civility, legal ethics teaching and the normative conception of the lawyer’s role. Professor Woolley has her LLM from Yale Law School and her BA and LLB from the University of Toronto, where she graduated with the gold medal. In 1995-1996 she was a law clerk to then Chief Justice of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Antonio Lamer.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Faculty of Law. Until the late seventies/early eighties, women who were separating from their spouses had no right to claim property acquired during marriage unless it was registered in their names. The SCC decision of Murdoch v. Murdoch rendered in 1975 exposed the inequalities of the law. Beginning in the late seventies provincial governments began passing matrimonial property legislation which allowed for equal division of marital property. The legislation only applied to married persons and unmarried persons were left to apply for division of property under the equitable rules of trust, a complicated and costly process. In 2001 a challenge by Susan Welsh to the NS Matrimonial Property Act came before the SCC. In a surprising decision, the SCC held that excluding unmarried cohabitants from Matrimonial Legislation did not contravene section 15 of the Charter. Despite that ruling several provinces have revised their property legislation to include unmarried persons but the vast majority of unmarried Canadians are not protected. This exclusion has a gendered perspective and affects women and children to a much larger extent.

Speaker Bio: Renee R. Cochard, a family law lawyer from Alberta, has practiced exclusively Family Law since being admitted to the bar in 1979. She has an LLM from York U in Alternative Dispute Resolution (2003) and is presently a PHD Candidate in Law at UBC.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Faculty of Law. It has become part of the accepted corporate governance wisdom in the U.S., as well as in numerous other countries, that boards of directors of publicly-traded corporations should include some, and perhaps a majority of “independent” directors. Yet to-date there has been no consistent evidence that adding independent directors to boards improves corporate performance. Many problems in corporations require a complex balancing act, a weighing of competing interests. Because such problems, by their nature, involve trade-offs and huge uncertainties, we should expect that the calls that directors make will deviate from some hypothetically optimal values in a more-or-less random way, sometimes leading to higher sales growth sometimes not, sometimes producing higher share value, and sometimes not. Research on the role of directors almost universally starts from the premise that corporate boards are supposed to be the “agents” of shareholders, whose job is to maximize the share value of the companies. This principal-agent approach, however, leaves out because no one can be certain they will get what they want if the decision gets bumped “upstairs.”

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by Green College’s Thematic Series: Public Health Law and Policy in Asia. This talk explores access to justice issues in different Asia pacific countries that arise in the health care context. The issues are examined from the perspectives of global health and instances of medical malpractice. Les Jacobs is Full Professor at the Law & Society/Political Science and Director of the York Centre for Public Policy and Law.


Les Jacobs is Professor of Law & Society and Political Science at York University and Executive Director of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. His research interests are in Human Rights, Law and Justice, Public Policy, Health and Human Rights, and Access to Justice.

Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Azmi, S. Foster, L., Jacobs, L.A. (2012). Balancing Competing Human Rights in a Diverse Society. Toronto: Irwin Law Books with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. [Link]

Jacobs, L.A. (2012). Gender, Trade Liberalization, and Tobacco Control in China. In Pitman Potter and Heather Gibb, (Eds.), Gender Equality Rights and Trade Regimes: Coordinating Compliance. Ottawa: North South Institute. pp. 141-158. [Link]

Jacobs, L.A. (2011). China’s Capacity to Respond to the H1N1 Pandemic Alert and Future Global Public Health Crises: A Policy Window For Canada. In Pitman Potter & Thomas Adams (Eds.), Issues in Canada-China Relation. Toronto: Canadian International Council. pp. 333-343. [Link]

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