Two Awards for UBC Law Students

The Auriol Gurner Young Memorial Award in Law and the Marlee G. Kline Essay Prize are awards that honour two inspiring women by recognizing students’ contributions to feminist thought and action at UBC Law.

Auriol Gurner Young Memorial Award in Law

Auriol Gurner Young

This award is generously endowed in memory of Auriol Gurner Young for students in the J.D. Program who have made significant contributions to feminism and the law, for instance through academic achievement, volunteer work, community activism, or work with a feminist organization.

This $3000 award honours the memory of Auriol Gurner Young, who died in 2005 after a lengthy and determined struggle with cancer. She was a remarkable woman with a lifelong love of learning and a great intellectual curiosity. In her 50’s, Auriol started her university education, graduating with first class honours in 1983. She loved life, people and ideas.

Nominations or applications for the award must be submitted to Professor Janine Benedet, Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, by Thursday, 1 May 2014. Submissions should be made via email to Please provide a letter explaining the candidate’s contributions to feminism and law and attach the candidate’s resume.

Marlee G. Kline Essay Prize

Marlee G. Kline

“The various intersections between gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and other differentiating characteristics, affect how and when all women experience sexism.”
(Marlee Kline, 1989)

The Centre for Feminist Legal Studies will award a $250 prize to the best essay written by a J.D. student attending the University of British Columbia during the 2013-2014 academic year, addressing the themes identified in the above quotation in relation to a topic dealing with law or legal regulation. The prize is offered in the name of Marlee Kline, a feminist UBC law professor who died in November 2001. The essay should be written for a UBC course, seminar, or directed research project and must incorporate feminist research and analysis.

Length: The essay shall be between 4000 and 10,000 words, and shall be typewritten and double-spaced, using 12 point font.

Selection: The submissions will be reviewed by a committee consisting of feminist law professors and graduate students.

Submission: Students should send essay submissions to Professor Janine Benedet, Director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, via email to

Deadline: Thursday, 1 May 2014

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

Panel Discussion: “Gentrification on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside”

CFLS & the Social Justice Action Network present a collaborative panel discussion:

DISAPPEARING HOMES: Gentrification on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside   

This panel will explore the intersections between gentrification, equality, and the law. This is a particularly interesting topic for Vancouverites, as some of our city’s low-income communities face growing threats to their ability to remain in their neighbourhoods. Come hear from a grassroots organizer, a lawyer, and an urban geographer about the issues, research and reactions surrounding gentrification in Vancouver.

Tuesday, 11 February @ 12:30 PM
Room 122, Allard Hall (1822 East Mall)
View the Facebook event here.

Wendy Pedersen, Grassroots Organizer  

Wendy is a long-time DTES resident and community organizer who has worked as a researcher with the Carnegie Community Action Project, a project of the Carnegie Centre that seeks to keep the DTES a low income friendly community.

DJ Larkin, Lawyer, Pivot Legal Society

DJ was drawn to law by her belief in the law’s power to build a more just society. She currently focuses her practice on litigating and researching the criminalization of homelessness, systems of housing which infringe the human rights and housing rights of low-income renters and housing policies and practices that put women and families at risk.

Lisa Freeman, Post-Doctoral Fellow, SFU Geography

Lisa is an urban legal geographer with roots in anti-poverty activism. Her research interests include municipal governance, single-room occupancy dwellings, gentrification, suburban poverty and public space. She uses feminist research methodologies to explore marginality, inequality and power within urban and suburban spaces.

View the current lecture schedule here.

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.

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.