Monthly Archives: July 2015

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: The Canadian Journal of Family Law

Welcome to the Allard School of Law and the beginning of an exciting three years! We hope you’ll enjoy the stimulating environment and great company as much as we have. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved in the Allard community and to supplement what you’ll be learning in your classes, and all of them will add to your experience. If you’re interested in family law or writing and editing, we hope you’ll consider joining the Canadian Journal of Family Law.

The CJFL is a biannual interdisciplinary journal that publishes English and French academic articles on a broad range of family law issues. It is a peer-reviewed journal and is edited by the student staff at Allard Law. It was the first family law journal in Canada, and the first volume was published in 1978 at Osgoode Hall. In 1982, the CJFL moved to UBC and has been here ever since.

As a 1L student, you can get involved by volunteering to edit, cite-check, and format submissions. You will be instructed in correct citation and style and work with the Senior and Associate Editors to ready the articles for submission. This is a great way to develop your legal research and writing skills before you have to write your first assignment. It’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with the current areas of debate and reform in the field of family law. There is no family law in first year, so if you think you might be interested in this field, getting involved in the CJFL will give you a head start.

Volunteer editors will be asked to edit or cite-check a maximum of two submissions a term. Each one should take less than a day to do and you will be given a week or two to complete them. If you are interested in becoming more involved, there are also opportunities to help with the management and publication of the Journal. The CJFL also has paid and credit positions that you can apply for at the end of 1L.

If you are interested in learning more about the Journal or getting involved, check out our website at or email us at

Good luck and we look forward to meeting you!

Zoe Suche – Senior Editor
Sania Ahmed – Business Manager
Miryam Burns – Associate Editor

Student Perspectives: Ian Davis


“Striking a balance between purpose and practice is a key to success”

Nietzsche famously remarked: “If we have our own why of life, we shall get along with almost any how.” Never mind the historical uses and abuses to which Nietzsche’s maxim has been put, the point is well taken. In law school, as in life, few challenges are conquered (still less conquered well) without the motivational thrust of commitment to a purpose.

It is then no accident that the law school requires that a statement of purpose accompany your application. Stripped down, I suspect that the bulk of them came in the following form: I want to study law (how) because I want to x (why). Of course, x varies: I want to study law because I want to make a lot of money, or because I want to promote social justice, or because I want to wear a suit, or because I want to vindicate the innocent, or because I want to object in court, or because of some further combination. Whatever your why, I encourage you to revisit it once first year gets underway and several times thereafter. Commit to it. And rely on it if (or when) the how becomes insufferable.

Yet don’t be afraid to revise it. Another approach is available. It takes the following form: I want to study law (how) because I want to study law (why). To be sure, this why strikes one as boring or unhelpful in a statement of purpose. But it should be no less compelling. Of things worth doing, some have intrinsic value, some have merely instrumental value, and yet others have both. What value does the study of law have for you?

Whatever your answer, you’ll have to square it with the tension between the two approaches that pervades the law school experience. For example, sharing work may or may not foster learning for learning’s sake, but it may or may not translate into great exam scores and initial job prospects. You might like nothing more than to explore law and literature but the business law firm that you’re interested in working with may or may not balk at the sight of it on your transcript. However you weigh the instrumental and intrinsic value of the study of law, I think you’d do well to adopt and stay true to an approach that reflects your own considered judgment. Again, in law school, as in life, striking a balance between purpose and practice is a key to success.

Congratulations, welcome, good luck and enjoy!


Ian Davis

Feel free to contact me via email at

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: The Guile Debate

One of UBC’s annual traditions is the Robert H. Guile, Q.C. Memorial Debate. Created to honour trickster, celebrated lawyer, and UBC alumnus, Bob Guile, the Guile Debate is an annual demonstration of why UBC law students should not quit our day jobs.


Last year’s winners weren’t photogenic enough to take a photo….so here a picture of some past winners.

There are two nights, with tryouts in mid-November and the actual debate at the end of January. For the tryouts participants get a generic resolution, such as Be it resolved the ends justify the means, and are expected to demonstrate their wit and wisdom in a five minute, prepared speech. The tryouts are open to everybody in the law school and the night is an assortment of brilliance and poor choices. Four finalists are chosen by a panel of local lawyers and professors, and the finalists are generally those people that were the least embarrassing and tried to make an argument that was funny, rather than those who just attempted stand-up comedy. Unlike the rest of life, puns tend to help, not hurt.

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Make no mistake: There are no shortage of hilarious and cringe worthy moments at the Guile Debate.

The finals are a grand evening with gowns, dignitaries, and refreshments. Notable judges have included the Chief Justice of British Columbia, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, as well as representatives from the Law Society of British Columbia, the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, the sponsoring firm Dentons Canada LLP, and the Société Midgetté/Alliance of Little Lawyers (s.m.a.l.l.), which was founded by Bob Guile.

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The coveted “Most Dangerous Debater” award

Needless to say, before judges like these, debaters need to bring their A-game. Not only are they charged with the arduous task of entertaining a raucous crowd of law students hungry for dangerous and edgy humour, they must also please the well-mannered and prestigious judges with their wit and intellect.

Class Photo - Guile

Robert H. Guile, Q.C., Class of ’56, trickster


But if that doesn’t sound interesting enough, know this – there’s a big cash prize! Finalists receive $250, the winning team receives an additional $250, and the top individual speaker wins yet another $250. And if this all sounds like something only 2Ls and 3Ls do, last year’s debate featured three 1Ls in the final, with an all-1L team winning.

Still sound scary? It shouldn’t. All in all, the Guile Debate is a couple of fun evenings spread out in the year and is a great way to use our brains for something a little more fun. There are laughs, there are drinks, and there is a break from the daily grind.

Check out video of some of the past debates: here, here, and here.

Thanks to Spencer Keys for sharing this post.

Student Perspectives: Rachel Lehman

How-To: Get the Most Out of Orientation


Hello Class of 2018!

I hope you are all getting excited about starting law school. The next month will fly by, and before you know it you will be arriving at Allard for your first day of Orientation. By way of background, I am heading into my third year at Allard, and I held the position of Orientation Coordinator last summer. When James asked me to write this little “how-to” guide I was very excited to share some thoughts with you. So, here’s my short and sweet guide to getting the most out of Orientation Week 2015:

1. Do a little bit of prep.
You’ve probably already heard the list of things you really don’t need to do before you start law school. Thankfully, that list includes reading case law, networking, and basically anything to do with schoolwork or jobs. But, there are a few things you can do before September, and if you want to be able to fully enjoy Orientation Week and the first few weeks of school, it might be a good idea to do a bit of prep now. If at all possible, I would try to sort out your living arrangements now. If you’re planning to make a big purchase (like a laptop) before starting classes, I would start looking into this now as well. Even if you’re waiting on student loan money to come in, it’s a good idea to do research now before you start getting busy with classes and events.

2. Clear your schedule during Orientation Week.
Although the Orientation Week schedule includes some downtime, it’s a pretty jam-packed week. If you can, try to organize your schedule so that your main focus can be attending Orientation Week sessions and getting to know your future colleagues.
That being said, if you can’t attend the evening events, don’t sweat it. There will be tons of time to bond with your fellow 1Ls in the future.

3. Get ready to introduce yourself… A LOT!
One of the most important purposes Orientation Week serves is to introduce you to your future friends and colleagues. It sounds a bit trite, but many of the people you meet during Orientation Week will be a part of your life forever. Although there’s no need to find your best friends on day one, you’ll enjoy Orientation much more if you go into the week looking to make connections with your classmates.

4. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to non-students.
When I did my BA at UBC, I barely interacted with anyone who was not an undergrad student. I never talked to my professors, and had almost zero contact with staff members. When I started at Allard, I quickly learned that limiting my social group to only include students would be a huge mistake. The faculty and staff at Allard are exceptionally kind and helpful, and they want to get to know each of you. Same goes for the many guests that James has invited to come speak to you during the week—if you’re interested in something a guest talks about, make the effort to go speak to him/her after the session.

5. Keep an open mind in terms of picking optional sessions to attend.
When I arrived at Orientation Week I thought I wanted to practice family law and participate in the Innocence Project while at law school. Less than two weeks later I realized I wanted to practice corporate/commercial law and join Law Review. Perhaps you know yourself a bit better than I did, but regardless of how sure you are that you want to practice ‘X’ law and join ‘Y’ extracurricular, you might change your mind. If you get an opportunity to learn about a club that you hadn’t considered joining, take it.

So, those are my top tips for getting the most out of Orientation Week. Basically, if you go into the week with an open mind and do a tiny bit of prep, you will have a great time. And, because you’re reading an optional blog during the summer before you start law school, odds are you are a planner (or possibly, you are extremely bored, in which case this post is likely only making matters worse for you).

Looking forward to meeting you in September,


Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: Centre for Feminist Legal Studies

                                         Welcome, Class of 2018!

CFLSMy name is Elizabeth and I am the current Student Coordinator at the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies (CFLS) at the Peter A. Allard School of Law.

The CFLS is a research centre that provides opportunities for students, scholars, and the wider feminist legal community to come together, build networks, collaborate on research, and exchange ideas. The work of the CFLS has been significant in ensuring that feminist and social justice issues remain visible at the Allard School of Law and that the law school remains connected to the larger community.

There are several ways that you can get involved with the CFLS as a new student:

The Weekly Lecture Series: The Centre hosts a weekly lecture series at lunchtime on Tuesdays covering issues related to feminism and the law. Last semester, our guest speakers included Dawn Fowler (Canadian Director, National Abortion Federation), Shelagh Day (Director of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre and Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action), Kasari Govender (Executive Director, West Coast LEAF), and many others. This fall, we can look forward to an opening lecture on September 22nd from Shulamit Almog, Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, whose research focuses on law and culture, law and literature, law and film, children’s rights, and feminist legal studies.

The Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice: In addition to our weekly lectures, the annual Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice takes place in the spring semester. Last spring, we were very fortunate to welcome Dr. Colleen Flood, Professor and Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, University of Toronto, who addressed “The Poverty of Health Human Rights in Canada”.

The Marlee Kline Room: CFLS1Located on the fourth floor of Allard Hall (room 424), the Marlee Kline Room is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm, to provide students with an informal study space and a fantastic lending library of feminist works and faculty publications. You can check out our collection online or in person. The Marlee Kline Room is also where the Centre’s student discussion group meets to hang out, catch up on current events with a feminist lens, and enjoy tea and cookies!

The Feminist Legal Mentorship Program: Last but not least, the Feminist Legal Mentorship Program connects law students with feminist mentors in legal careers. Past mentors have come from backgrounds such as tax law, human rights law, administrative law, family law, commercial law and legal ethics. Applications for the Mentorship Program will open in the fall.

To stay in touch with the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, or for more information, you can visit us on our website, blog, Facebook or Twitter. You can email me at if you have any questions or to be added to our mailing list, and you will also find us on the Orientation 2015 schedule. We look forward to meeting you in the fall!


Elizabeth Cameron (2L)

Centre for Feminist Legal Studies Student Coordinator




Faculty Spotlight: Dennis Pavlich


Dennis Pavlich joined the Peter A. Allard School of Law in 1975 and teaches Property Law, Trusts and Western Legal Traditions. A graduate of Witwatersrand University and Yale Law School, Professor Pavlich has been an academic for over 25 years and on two occasions has received awards for teaching excellence, including the University’s Killam Teaching Prize. Professor Pavlich teaches courses on property law, the law of trusts and the western idea of law. He has also lectured extensively on aspects in the field of education law. Pavlich is the author and editor of several books and articles dealing in his areas of legal interest including Condominium Law in British Columbia (Butterworths), Academic Freedom and the Inclusive University (UBC Press) and, in 2010, Managing Environmental Justice (Rodopi).

Professor Pavlich has served as UBC’s University Counsel and as its Vice President External and Legal Affairs. He was also President of the Great Northern Way campus, a joint venture of UBC, Simon Fraser and Emily Carr universities and the BC Institute of Technology. He has been a member of  UBC’s Board of Governors and its Senate, as well as the boards of UBC Properties Trust, the Rick Hansen Institute and Festival Vancouver. He is currently on the boards of the BC Press Council and the council of the Vancouver Institute of which he is a former president. He was founding chair of the board of the Great Northern Way Trust.

What is your Non-Law Dream Job? Opera Singer

What is your Favourite Movie or Book? African Queen

What is your Favourite Judicial Decision? Bernstein of Leigh v Skyviews & General Ltd. – Good result, bad put down of Accursius and ad coelum makim. 

Student Perspectives: Jamie Hsu

Collegiality at Allard School of Law

Succeeding at law school can take many shapes and forms. Whether its academic success, taking advantage of the numerous opportunities and clinics to pursue your passion, establishing long-lasting relationships that are both personal and professional or one of the other ways that comprise the long list of different ways to succeed, there is a common enabling factor: the culture of community and support at Allard Hall.

10547839_10155344001085043_1917914970287575107_oThere are numerous ways this culture of community manifests and several start with your choices. Take advantage of the peer-tutoring program, go to your professor’s office hours, have a weekly night of drinking with your friends, share notes and study together; everyone is better off if you buy in. The faculty, the staff and especially the upper-year students are more than willing to help out. It’s a system of pay it forward and we’re happy to pass on what we know because what we know was passed down to us.

The truth about law school, especially first year, is that it is very rare that there is anything you do or go through that somebody else hasn’t done or experience in some fashion already. As such, you’re faced with two choices: (a) Draw from the resource that is the unbelievably diverse, kind and intelligent community around you or (b) go it alone. Given the fact that you’ll spend most of law school getting B’s, I would take this last chance to go with option A.

Excited to meet you all in the fall, enjoy the rest of your summer.

James Hsu, 3L.



Faculty Spotlight: David Duff


David G. Duff joined the Allard School of Law in July 2009 after visiting at the Faculty during the 2008-09 academic year. From 1996 to 2008, Professor Duff taught tax law and policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Prior to this, he was a tax associate at the Toronto office of Stikeman, Elliott. He was also employed as a researcher with the Ontario Fair Tax Commission from 1991 to 1993 and as a tax policy analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Finance from 1993 to 1994.

Professor Duff has an LL.M. from Harvard and an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, master’s degrees in political theory from the University of Toronto and economics from York University, and a B.A. (Honours) from Queen’s University. He has been a visiting scholar at the law faculties at Auckland University, McGill University, Oxford University, and the University of Sydney, and is a Research Fellow of the Monash University Taxation Law and Policy Research Institute, an International Research Fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, a member of the Tax Academy of the Americas, and a member of the Board of the Canadian Tax Foundation. He is also Director of the Centre for Business Law at the Allard School of Law.

Professor Duff’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of tax law and policy, environmental taxation, comparative and international taxation, and distributive justice. He has published numerous articles in the areas of tax law and policy, accident law and family law, and environmental taxation and policy, has co-authored a book on accident law and a textbook/casebook on Canadian income tax law, and has co-edited books on tax avoidance in Canada and Canadian climate change policy. He has also served as a consultant to the Canadian Department of Justice, the Alberta Department of Justice, the Ontario Panel on the Role of Government, and the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182 (Air India Inquiry)

What is your Non-Law Dream Job? None. This is my dream job.*

* If forced to select a non-law teaching job, I guess I’d say architect. Like Seinfeld’s George Costanza, I’ve always wanted to pretend that I’m an architect.

What is your favorite movie or book? The Grand Budapest Hotel – Brilliantly funny and dark at the same time. Doris Kearns’ Team of Rivals – Magnificent account of Lincoln’s administration and the art of politics.

What is your favorite judicial decision and why? This is a tough one. I’d say the Duke 0f Westminster, which is fun and central to tax, but I disagree so strongly with the outcome that I can’t choose it. Perhaps Jarvis v Swan Tours because I also like Gemütlichkeit! 

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: Illegal Beavers Rugby Club

The Illegal Beavers Rugby Club (not just a sports team).

This is a club you want to join. 


“But Scott!” Quoth the meek, bespectacled 0L. “I fear my bones are made of glass, and mayst they shatter into a thousand pieces upon contact with not more than an overzealous handshake!”

To this common position among 0Ls, I offer my humble opinion; since I, like you, am a natural born coward. Indeed, it took over a month before the Beavers finally swayed me to their ranks with promises of “networking opportunities” and “great CANS”. My concept of rugby at the time was dismal, and amounted to little more than a flurry of short shorts, broken bones and lost teeth.

I will never forget going into contact for the first time. In my head, working up to this moment, I believed that the force of a tackle on the field would be akin to a hurricane making contact with a small house, or a dog with a child’s sandcastle. But you know what? That is not what happened. I was able to get up, and continue playing a game – the rules to which I barely knew.

Now, if this anecdote doesn’t galvanize the lot of you into joining your nearest club and practicing up before September, then I have some additional things you ought to consider.

First: Being on the team is good, clean, family fun. We do several nights out, road trips and miscellaneous events. And it’s a great way to connect with upper years (which connects you to them juicy CANS).

Second: I would like to paint for you two word pictures, if I may. First, think of the archetypal rugby player. Those juicy quads. Those strong arms. The lean, mean, killing machine. Got him? Ok, now imagine the smartest people in your undergrad class. Those thick bifocals. That strong in-class participation. The lean, preen and overly keen. You know the type. Now, which one of the two would you expect to field a team that is entirely comprised of Law Students? Because that is your competition, and that is your team.

Third: No experience required! In fact, hardly any of us have much experience. Except our Coach – who will show you the ropes.

Fourth: If you are hell bent on avoiding contact altogether, I would still encourage you to come to practices. We practice twice per week at lunch for one hour. One practice will be oriented around drills, and will generally be non-contact. The other practice will involve purely fitness. That being said, Law school is very time consuming, and finding time for your health is difficult. Rugby practice is a great way to stay in shape during the year.

Fifth: Rugby is legitimately a great networking opportunity. Not just with upper years, but alumni as well. The importance of tricking an upper year into giving you their CANS cannot be understated. Trying to navigate law school without these CANS would be like trying to navigate the Pacific Ocean without a compass. And instead of water, the ocean is fire. And instead of sky, more fire.

Sixth: Scholies & Alumni – I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that the only reason anyone has been successful ever is because of connections. We have a great alumni network, and we have them to thank for establishing two $1,000 Scholarships for current Beavers. Also, we’ve got Beavers all over the globe for those of you who want to work in Toronto, New York, etc.

Finally: This club is pretty low maintenance. We have 5 or 6 games throughout the whole year, and practice is optional (although highly encouraged).

Joining the Beavers was one of the best decisions I made in 1L. We had great team bonding, great trips, and great fun on the field. I highly encourage everyone to at the very least check out one practice.

See ya out there 0Ls!


Scott Whittley, 2L

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: OutLaws

Hello, Class of 2018!

We are the co-chairs of UBC OutLaws, the LGBTQ+ student group at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, and we’d like to welcome you to the community and answer a few questions you might have about us.


What does OutLaws do?

OutLaws works to foster a supportive community for LGBTQ+ law students and their allies and to promote awareness of legal issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community at large.

That means, for starters, that we hold social events such as Cheers for Queers, a pub night for queer and allied faculty, staff and students, and we keep folks up to date with community news via our Facebook group, UBC OutLaws.

We also host events exploring LGBTQ+ issues in a legal context. Last January, we presented a panel discussion on trans* and genderqueer rights and the law, with speakers Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West End, and Adrienne Smith, Health and Drug Policy Advocate with Pivot Legal Society.

Lastly, we work to represent the interests of LGBTQ+ students in the community. For example, a representative from UBC OutLaws sits on the Executive of the SOGIC (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference) section of the Canadian Bar Association in BC to maintain connections with the broader queer legal community.

What’s happening this summer?

As some of you may know, following an October 2014 referendum in which 5,951 BC lawyers (74% of those who voted) chose to deny approval for Trinity Western University’s (TWU) proposed faculty of law, the Law Society of BC decided not to grant approval for the purpose of its admission program. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk later revoked his approval for the law school. TWU then filed a petition for judicial review of the Law Society’s decision.

This is of interest to UBC OutLaws because TWU requires its students, faculty, and staff to sign a Community Covenant Agreement that, among other things, requires them to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

UBC OutLaws believes that this requirement discriminates against LGBTQ+ people. We believe that LGBTQ+ students should have equal access to legal education and not face exclusion or discrimination on the basis of their gender or sexual orientation.

The exciting news is that UBC OutLaws has recently been given intervener status in TWU and Brayden Volkenant v The Law Society of BC as part of a coalition with QMUNITY and the OutLaws groups from Thompson Rivers University and the University of Victoria. This means we’ll have the opportunity to voice our concerns about how the outcome of this case will affect queer folks generally and queer students who want to attend law school in particular. The hearing starts on August 24th, so stay tuned!

How can new students get involved?

We encourage all LGBTQ+ and allied law students to get involved with OutLaws.

For updates on OutLaws events and other community news, you can join our Facebook group. If you have questions or would like to talk, please feel free to email us at  And be sure to look for the OutLaws Meet and Greet on the Orientation 2015 schedule — we look forward to meeting you!

Elizabeth Cameron and May Chan

UBC OutLaws Co-Chairs, 2015-2016