Author Archives: AG

Feminist Faculty 2013-2014 Case Roundup

Speakers: Profs. Isabel Grant, Mary Liston and Efrat Arbel

Join us for the final CFLS lecture of this academic year. Three feminist faculty members will discuss important 2013-14 decisions at different levels of court, and their implications for gender equality in Canada. Pizza will be provided.

R v Hutchinson, 2014 SCC 19
Does one consent only to engaging in a sexual act or do the circumstances of that activity, such as whether the sex is protected or unprotected, come within the concept of consent? Prof. Grant will consider this decision’s important implications for sexual assault law & HIV nondisclosure prosecutions. The absence of a feminist intervener group in the case is evident in the majority and minority opinions.

Saskatchewan v Whatcott, 2013 SCC 11
Prof. Liston will focus on the intersection of human rights and constitutional law in the SCC’s judgment, and the important role of human rights bodies in facilitating access to justice in Canada.

Inglis v British Columbia, 2013 BCSC 2309
This case involved the constitutionality of the Mother-Baby Program at Alouette Correction Centre for Women. Prof. Arbel will focus on the court’s comparator group analysis under s. 15 of the Charter.

When:             Tuesday, 25 March @ 12:30 PM
Where:            Room 123, Allard Hall (1822 East Mall)

Click here to view the event poster.

For the full CFLS lecture schedule, see

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Bonnie Sherr Klein Lecture Video

2014 Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice – “I Am Who You Are”

Bonnie Sherr Klein is a documentary filmmaker and long-time activist in the feminist and disability movements. In this lecture she shares her lived experience of disability as documented in her journal entries and film. She points out that disability inevitably touches us all, and proposes that human rights for people living with disabilities is not `merely’ a justice issue but an opportunity for all of us to be our most human.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies as part of the Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice.

This lecture honours the memory of Marlee Gayle Kline, a member of the Faculty of Law from 1989. Professor Kline died in 2001 after a lengthy and determined struggle with leukemia. Her work on feminist legal theory and critical race theory, child welfare law and policy, law’s continued colonialism, and restructuring of the social welfare state is internationally acclaimed. This lectureship not only recognizes Marlee’s rich contribution to the law school community but also reflects her belief in the central role social justice concerns must play in legal education and law.

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Article: “Family Law Reform in (Neoliberal) Context”

Chair in Feminist Legal Studies Susan Boyd has recently co-authored an article for the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family entitled “Family Law Reform in (Neoliberal) Context: British Columbia’s New Family Law Act”.

Abstract: This article introduces and critically examines the new British Columbia (Canada) Family Law Act (FLA), which lays out new norms and procedures for the resolution of family disputes and emphasizes out-of-court dispute resolution. These changes are also intended both to reflect and to construct the ‘new’ face of contemporary motherhood and fatherhood post-separation. After identifying the neoliberal context within which the changes will play out, we explain the law reform process and summarize the reforms pertaining to post-separation parenting. Key changes include: replacing the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ with an expanded definition of guardianship; a list of specific factors that must be considered in determining a child’s ‘best interests’; a detailed definition of domestic violence; explicit rules to guide relocation; and authority for courts to make conduct and non-compliance orders. The FLA distances itself from presumptions regarding the preferred form of parenting arrangements post-separation, but the post-separation default position is that each parent is the child’s guardian with all parental responsibilities. The last part of the article places the changes in their contemporary social and political context and critically evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. Our conclusion cautions that without adequate resources to support families and improved access to justice, the innovative aspects of the FLA may be thwarted.

Click here to view the abstract on the International Journal of Law Policy and the Family website, plus links to HTML and PDF versions of the full article.

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Lecture: “Supporting Human Rights Lawyers and Access to Justice in Colombia”

“THE COLOMBIA CARAVANA: Supporting Human Rights Lawyers and Access to Justice in Colombia”

“Sin abogados, no hay justicia.”
(“Without lawyers, there is no justice.”)

The Colombia Caravana is a project of international lawyers and judges that monitors the human rights abuses and persecution experienced by legal professionals in Colombia. The Caravana first visited Colombia in 2008 at the invitation of the Association of Defence Lawyers, an umbrella organisation for Colombian human rights lawyers. Lawyers and legal professionals from Europe, Canada and Latin America travelled to Colombia to meet with and receive testimony from lawyers and other human rights defenders at risk of various forms of attack because of their work in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Learn more about the situation for lawyers, judges and human rights defenders in Colombia and about international efforts to support these important actors and improve access to justice in Colombia.

Justice Carol Huddart, BC Court of Appeal (retired)

Heather Neun, Vancouver Labour and Human Rights Lawyer

The Honourable Carol Mahood Huddart and Vancouver lawyer Heather Neun participated as Canadian delegates in the 2012 Caravana, representing Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. The delegation prepared two reports: “Colombia: Protecting Access to Justice” and “Judges at Risk”.

Tuesday, 11 February @ 12:30 PM
Room 122, Allard Hall (1822 East Mall) 

View the current lecture schedule here.

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Lecture: “The Feminization and Racialization of Poverty”

“THE FEMINIZATION AND RACIALIZATION OF POVERTY: Intersecting Legislated Policies of Dispossession”

Drawing on her past work as the Project Coordinator of Vancouver Status of Women’s Feminization and Racialization of Poverty Project, Benita Bunjun re-examines the deepening of poverty as experienced by racialized women (Indigenous women & women of colour) due to present and historical social and economic policies.

She draws on an intersectional critical race feminist analysis to specifically examine how welfare, immigration, and labour policies disproportionately impact racialized women within Canada, a white-settler society. During this era of colonial conservative ideology, systematic barriers faced by women living in poverty are further reinforced and sustained.

Due to limited economic resources, Indigenous women and women of colour remain forced to work precarious underpaid part-time jobs.  Social programs are being dismantled while regressive policies are implemented onto the bodies of dispossessed populations.  The processes of occupation, re/settlement, nation building, slavery, disenfranchisement, labour migration, and employment regulation continue to contribute to the depth of poverty and criminalization experienced by racialized women.  Bunjun will also share lessons learnt while coordinating such a project in regards to the non-profit industrial complex and Indigenous/settler of colour relations.

Dr. Benita Bunjun, UBC Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

Benita Bunjun received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC. Her doctoral research entitled “The (Un)Making of Home, Entitlement, and Nation: An Intersectional Organizational Study of Power Relations in Vancouver Status of Women, 1971-2008” examines organizational power relations within feminist organizations with an emphasis on discourses of nation-building.

Dr. Bunjun is a past President of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women where she chaired the Intersectional Feminist Frameworks Working Group. She teaches at UBC and is currently an Advisory Committee member at the Centre for Race, Autobiography, Gender & Age (RAGA). She is a Collective Member of Vancouver Status of Women (VSW) and also coordinates the independent Research Project on the Academic Well-Being of Racialized Students.

Tuesday, 4 February @ 12:30 PM
Room 123, Allard Hall (1822 East Mall) 

View the current lecture schedule here.

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