Category Archives: Upcoming IFLS Events

IFLS Visitor Fall 2018: Dr Vicky Conway (DCU)

The IFLS is delighted to welcome Dr. Vicky Conway,  Associate Professor of Law at Dublin City University to Osgoode for October & November 2018.  She’ll be giving a public talk, FALLEN WOMEN OF EIRE – TRACING THE HISTORY OF THE CRIMINALISATION OF ABORTION IN IRELAND, on Thursday October 11 1230, Room TBC (rsvp please for catering).

Vicky has worked in a number of universities including Kent Law School and Queen’s University Belfast. She is a leading researcher on policing in Ireland with an emphasis on the intersection between social change, police culture and police accountability. She has published two monographs on policing in Ireland and was appointed by government to be a member of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland which reported in September 2018. She is currently researching solicitor attendance at police station interviews and is one of the drivers of a training programme for solicitors who have begun to attend interviews. Vicky was a founding member of Lawyers for Choice and continues to be heavily active in working to ensure feminist reform of Irish abortion laws. She is also conducting research on the criminalisation of abortion in Ireland.

Vicky is visiting the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode Hall Law School in October and November 2018. Vicky would be delighted to meet with faculty, students and student societies to discuss any issues relating to reproductive rights, gender and the law, feminist legal activism, criminal procedure or policing while she is visiting at Osgoode. Reach her via the IFLS Director sonialaw@osgoode.yorku.ca

Find Vicky on twitter at @drvconway,

 

Critical Theory for the Future | Conversations for the Future

 

UPDATED July 26 2018

Here’s OHLS grad program LLM Candidate Lara Tessaro on the ideas we heard at the event:

On June 6, 2018, Dayna Nadine Scott and the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies drew together a group of feminist scholars to share their thoughts and prescriptions on how to approach Critical Theory for the Anthropocene Future. How, they were asked, can we simultaneously reckon with environmental violence and inequalities, while nonetheless collectively rejecting the catastrophism so often invoked by Anthropocene narratives?

The evening began with Crystal Sinclair (Nehiyaw), an artist, hand drummer, facilitator, organizer, water protector, land defender, Indigenous rights activist and member of the Idle No More movement. Crystal shared some Nehiyaw histories, and acknowledged the territory on which we were gathered.

Then Dayna introduced the event’s themes. She noted that we have all had to come to terms with the “Anthropocene era” – the geologic age of humans – as we confront the profound impact that humans have had on the planet, with its apparent ecological boundaries and limits. Proponents of the Anthropocene want us to fear our demise, she said, and indeed, she admitted that we sometimes get caught dreaming about a world without humans in it. Other times, “we try to dream into being bold, beautiful, feminist, decolonial visions of a future on this planet – thriving in the Anthropocene or flourishing after the Anthropocene”. Dayna mused about the “strikeout” of the term Anthropocene in the title of the event, saying that it was meant to signal that this term is only ever shorthand. While the concept immediately brings to mind planetary boundaries and ecosystem survival, and in some ways challenges people to change their course, it also “throws us all into a bucket called “humanity” that erases past and present inhumanity, colonialisms and oppressions”. Each of the evening’s four speakers has influenced our thinking on these themes over the past several years, from different disciplines and perspectives, and each offers critical insights for a better future.

Dayna mentioned that her own engagement with these themes began through a growing dissatisfaction with the way that many legal scholars think about the future. Referring to her recent paper co-authored with Jess Eisen and Roxanne Mykitiuk, she recalled the environmental law doctrine of intergenerational equity, which provides that current generations hold the planet in trust from previous generations and for future generations – meaning that people living today have obligations to people living in the future. Yet this necessarily raises the questions: “Which people living today? What obligations? What will people in the future need? What new and old oppressions will characterize the future? And why only people?”

The first speaker, Angela P. Harris, is a foundational voice in critical race feminism. She has considered implications of the “Anthropocene” for critical legal theory, taking it as an opportunity to inject anti-subordination imperatives into vulnerability theory. In her comments, Angela compellingly assembled the movements that label themselves with the word justice – whether environmental justice, reproductive justice, food justice, land justice, climate justice, or data justice. Following Paola Bacchetta, she encouraged us to theorize these movements as “X Justice”, in which X is the embrace of the unknown and unknowable future. She also urged us to stay with the vague “etcetera” that often clings to the end of our accounts of identities. Compounded, these two commitments make “etcetera and the X”. All these X movements share commitments to undermining white settler law. Angela theorized that white settler law operates through two distinct modes of power: subjection (think corporations, states, persons, wild animals, farmed animals, children) and spatialization (think Canada, US, ghetto, wilderness, private sphere, public sphere, market, state). She concluded by identifying ways in which X justice movements and scholars are undermining these two dynamics, making space for anticolonial and decolonial work.

Next up was Zoe Todd (Métis), an anthropologist and fish philosopher who has helped people see how the “ontological turn” in anthropology and other disciplines is indebted to Indigenous worldviews. Zoe contributed virtually through a video recording. She first read a condensed version of a 2017 piece on relationality in Métis worldviews. Métis legal-governance traditions draw on the Nehiyaw (or Cree) legal principle of wahkohtowin, which, as described by Métis historian Brenda MacDougall, is “predicated upon a specific Aboriginal notion and definition of family as a broadly conceived sense of relatedness of all beings, human and non-human, living and dead, physical and spiritual.” Grounded in wahkohtowin, Métis life centers on tending to relations. Zoe described how she came to understand this all the better after living in the UK, where she learned what it is to be unclaimed: “Without relations, without someone to claim me, and without people to claim, I am nothing.” Zoe then shared her playful and moving poem the Tenderness Manifesto, in which she (at)tends to the multivalent meanings and affects of tender and tenderness (spurring some lawyers in the room to ponder the care-full act of tendering evidence). through a witness).

 

During a break to congregate and contemplate with colleagues old and new – and for refreshment and nourishment (much thanks to the Gladstone for staging the evening so smoothly) – audience members were encouraged to write down and pop in a box any questions they had for the speakers. For those interested in novel chairing techniques, check out the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies’ ongoing experiment with fairer modes of chairing panels.

The second round of speakers began with Usha Natarajan, an international law scholar who works within Third World Approaches to International Law (or TWAIL), a movement that exposes the ongoing coloniality of international law. Usha began by outlining different ways that international lawyers have responded to environmental degradation. Emphasizing that environmental harms have been created by the North, some lawyers in the South have proclaimed principles such as “common but differentiated responsibility”, now successfully reflected in multilateral environmental agreements. Some critical postcolonial scholars have pointed to how the North has refused to live up to these obligations; while these concerns are valid, this postcolonial critique has not helped to tackle environmental degradation. It has a certain tactical value, allowing resistance to the mainstream’s obsessive focus on climate change as a distraction from underlying inequities (here, she recalled how Manhattan emits more greenhouse gases than all of sub-Saharan Africa, yet humans and nonhumans in these countries experience the brunt of unmitigated climate change). However, focusing only on redistributions of power and wealth will not likely provide solutions to climate change; ultimately, more fundamental changes are needed in our ways of knowing the world. Yet our legal concepts remain wedded to environmental destruction. Sovereignty, for example, is fully dependent upon sovereign states mastering nature. The concept of human rights further atomizes the world into rights-bearing individuals abstracted and demarcated from our natural environments and other species. Usha ended her comments by reminding us that nature has laws of its own, available to us if we listen.

Michelle Murphy, the evening’s final speaker, is a Métis technoscience studies scholar working on environmental and reproductive justice, data politics, race, and colonialism. With many collaborators, including through the Technoscience Research Unit, she seeks to reconceive chemicals and enact decolonial futures. Posing the question “how does environmental data manifest settler colonialism and racial capitalism”, Michelle wants to consider “ways of working with and against data towards better land-body relations”. To illustrate these “infrastructures of gaslighting”, she chronicled a history of the Imperial Oil refinery in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley – including a massive 2017 flaring event that Vanessa Gray of Aamjiwnaang, with help from Ecojustice, is working to remedy. Chemical Valley is embedded in scientific legacies of how we study and monitor chemicals – one chemical at a time, narrowly prescribed effects, dose-response curves. While activists feel compelled to use the resulting state-reported data to generate environmental justice arguments, Michelle asks: “What if the objects we think (with) are in the world are wrong?” Following Eve Tuck and Audra Simpson, unthinking chemicals also requires refusing damage-based research. Moreover, by refusing to apprehend chemicals as small and individual, we can embrace new ways to depict the extensive and expansive chemical relations in which we are entangled.

When opening a collective conversation, Dayna joked that she was not sure the speakers had followed her direction to be hopeful – which produced some profitable pushback. Angela noted, when confronted with students’ feelings of hopelessness, that rather than let uncertain futures foster fear, she stresses how uncertainty is always also possibility. Insisting that her talk was hopeful, Michelle celebrated the liberation that comes from “naming better concepts” and from the recognition that researchers do not have to work with decontextualized, atomistic objects –  like “chemicals” – but can reorient their research around relations. Asked whether this might redeem the object of “law”, Usha reminded us that the products of all disciplines are inadequate – though imagination, art, and literature can help us to articulate things otherwise.

Sonia Lawrence said that she, for one, had experienced the evening as being truly hopeful. Sonia thanked the humans and institutions that had made the event possible. In addition to the four speakers and Crystal Sinclair, she thanked the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, York University MES student Garance Malivel, Osgoode Hall JD student Graham Reeder, Ashley Bell of Osgoode Hall, Suzette Collaird of the Gladstone, and the roomful of those who had gathered to contemplate Critical Theory for the Anthropocene Future

Lara Tessaro

Feminist Friday for LSA

Feminist Legal Theory CRN & Osgoode Institute for Feminist Legal Theory invite you to Feminist Friday @LSA June 8 2018 530 to 7PM at the Bedford Academy 36 Prince Arthur Avenue Toronto OntarioMore LSA type news.

Friday June 8 is the local reception…but just before that if you’re in town, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN (co-conveners Profs Seema Mohapatra and Daniela Kraiem) & Osgoode Institute for Feminist Legal Studies are buying your snacks  at the Bedford Academy on Prince Arthur (map below, 10 min by subway, 40 minute stroll from the conference) 530-7.

We’ll be in the main floor lounge and a bit of the back patio. Come and join us.

Quick walk (<10min) to the local reception at U of T Law:  7-9PM Friday June 8 hosted by U of T and Osgoode, tickets required see http://www.lawandsociety.org/Toronto2018/2018-events.html

IFLS Roundtable on Judges, Ethics & Inquiries: March 1st, 530PM Downtown

MARCH 1 530PM 730PM

20 ADELAIDE STREET EAST (@ VICTORIA)
STE 1104 (TRAINING ROOM)

NO COST BUT PLEASE DO RSVP https://goo.gl/forms/3T0BsjO87tRcwcov2

REFRESHMENTS

 

Download the extended program here or read more below.

This roundtable welcomes together legal academics, practitioners and law students to talk about the implications of recent judicial inquiries which brought questions of gender, among other issues, to the fore.   Together we can begin to think through our answers to questions including:

  • What have we learned about how the role of the judge is understood through these inquiries and surrounding public discourse?
  • What expectations about judicial language and behaviour do the outcomes of the Inquiries suggest?
  • Is the process set up for judicial inquiries working? Are there changes we would propose and why?
  • What are the implications for judicial appointments?
  • How do gender, race and indigeneity figure in the Camp and Douglas Inquiries and more broadly in our discourse about what good judging requires and who would be a good judge?
  • What strategic questions do we need to consider in terms of when and how to draft complaints to the Canadian Judicial Council?

Our invitees will speak briefly before a group discussion

Alice Woolley, Professor, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law
Fathima Cader, Barrister and Solicitor, McMahon, Morrison, Watts
Molly Reynolds, Barrister and Solicitor, Torys LLP
Kim Stanton, Barrister and Solicitor, Goldblatt Partners LLP
Nana Yanful, Barrister and Solicitor
Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

Texts/Context for Further Reading

Inquiry Committee Regarding the Honourable Robin Camp: Report

  • Other documents related to the Camp Inquiry available here including submissions of interveners, response to the Report, etc. available here.
  • Alice Woolley (2017) The resignation of Robin Camp: background and reflections from Canada, Legal Ethics, 20:1, 134-137, DOI: 10.1080/1460728x.2017.1346550 To link to this article:
  • “Racism and the Robin Camp Inquiry.” Accessed February 16, 2018. http://www.bloggingforequality.ca/2016/09/racism-and-robin-camp-inquiry.html.
  • Woolley, Alice, “Empathy in the Law: Does the Robin Camp Inquiry Committee Recommendation Encourage a ‘Postempathy Era’? – Slaw.” Accessed February 16, 2018. http://www.slaw.ca/2016/12/09/empathy-in-the-law-does-the-robin-camp-inquiry-committee-recommendation-encourage-a-postempathy-era/.

 

Inquiry Committee Regarding the Honourable Lori Douglas (all documents) here

 

 

Reforms and Changes

Sexual Assault Training

Bill C-337 An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code (sexual assault) (Short Title Judicial Accountability through Sexual Assault Law Training Act “This enactment amends the Judges Act to restrict eligibility for judicial appointment to individuals who have completed comprehensive education in respect of matters related to sexual assault law and social context. It also requires the Canadian Judicial Council to report on continuing education seminars in matters related to sexual assault law. Furthermore, it amends the Criminal Code to require that reasons provided by a judge in sexual assault decisions be entered in the record of the proceedings or be in writing”  This Bill died in the Senate.

Ontario Bill 120 Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Training for Judicial Officers Act, 2017 “Currently, under section 43 of the Courts of Justice Act, the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Attorney General for the appointment of provincial judges.  New subsection 43 (10.1) provides that the Committee cannot consider a candidate unless he or she has completed comprehensive sexual assault law education.

Section 51.10 of the Act is amended to require the plan for the continuing education of judges to require judges to complete education in respect of matters related to sexual assault law.

  • “CJC Considers Imposing Mandatory Professional Development on Federal Judges – The Lawyer’s Daily.” Accessed February 16, 2018. https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/2743/cjc-considers-imposing-mandatory-professional-development-on-federal-judges.
  • “CJC ‘Very Hopeful’ Senate Will Heed Red Flags Judiciary Raised about Judicial Training – The Lawyer’s Daily.” Accessed February 16, 2018. https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/4972/cjc-very-hopeful-senate-will-heed-red-flags-judiciary-raised-about-judicial-training.
  • “Requiring Written Reasons in Sex Assault Cases Will Add to Court Delays, CBA Warns – The Lawyer’s Daily.” Accessed February 16, 2018. https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/2938/requiring-written-reasons-in-sex-assault-cases-will-add-to-court-delays-cba-warns.
  • “Women’s Advocates, Defence Counsel Call for Transparency from Judiciary on Sexual Assault Law Training for Judges – The Lawyer’s Daily.” Accessed February 16, 2018. https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/4852/women-s-advocates-defence-counsel-call-for-transparency-from-judiciary-on-sexual-assault-law-training-for-judges.

 

Reforming the Canadian Judicial Council Process

 

Part II – Canadian Judicial Council in Judges Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. J-1)

Canadian Judicial Council: REVIEW OF THE JUDICIAL CONDUCT PROCESS OF THE CANADIAN JUDICIAL COUNCIL: Background Paper (2014)

Department of Justice Canada Possibilities for further reform of the Federal Judicial Discipline Process JUNE 2016 [consultation closed August 2016]

“New Chief Justice Says System for Dealing with Complaints against Judges Needs Work | CBC News.” CBC, February 5, 2018. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/new-chief-justice-richard-wagner-judical-complaints-1.4521256.

 

 

Tuesday Feb 13 1230 (Lunch) Transgender Challenges with Osgoode Arthurs’ Visiting Professor Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh)

Sharon Cowan is coming as an Arthurs Visitor to Osgoode Hall Law School from Feb  8 to March 3. On Feb 13, she’ll give a talk (this was originally scheduled for Feb 16 but has been moved). All welcome but pls RSVP so we get the food order right.

TRANSGENDER CHALLENGES: IDENTITY EQUALITY AND COMMUNITY  VISITING PROFESSOR SHARON COWAN, PROFESSOR OF FEMINIST AND QUEER LEGAL STUDIES (EDINBURGH LAW)

This talk will describe preliminary findings from Professor Cowan’s comparative socio-legal project looking at the impact of law on transgender people in three jurisdictions.

1230PM Room 2027 Osgoode Hall Law School RSVP www.bit.ly/IFLSRSVP

DATE CHANGE TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13 2018 DATE CHANGE TRANSGENDER CHALLENGES: IDENTITY EQUALITY AND COMMUNITY VISITING PROFESSOR SHARON COWAN, PROFESSOR OF FEMINIST AND QUEER LEGAL STUDIES (EDINBURGH LAW) This talk will describe preliminary findings from Professor Cowan's comparative socio-legal project looking at the impact of law on transgender people in three jurisdictions. Sharon will be visiting Osgoode and the IFLS February 9 to March 3 2018. 1230PM Room 2027 Osgoode Hall Law School RSVP www.bit.ly/IFLSRSVP