Profs Scassa, Cunliffe, Laidlaw and others via twitter.
Profs Scassa, Cunliffe, Laidlaw and others via twitter.
In her powerful talk earlier this month about R v Barton and the death of Cindy Gladue, Professor Emma Cunliffe discussed the lack of cultural competency and respect for Indigenous lives shown by the lawyers involved in the case. She was later asked a question about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action regarding legal education. In her answer, she mentioned a recent blog post she had written on the subject, found here.
The blog she was talking about is called ReconciliationSyllabus. It was started by UVic law professors Gillian Calder and Rebecca Johnson last summer as “an invitation to law professors across Canada to gather together ideas about resources and pedagogies to support recommendation #28 of the TRC Calls to Action: the call for us to rethink both what and how we teach in our schools.” Here is a story about the blog’s origin.
The TRC Calls to Action that speak most directly to legal education read as follows:
Since the blog’s launch, Professor Cunliffe and several other Canadian law professors (many of a known feminist bent) have taken up the invitation to reflect on the TRC’s recommendations. Check it out here, if you haven’t already: https://reconciliationsyllabus.wordpress.com/about/.
Here are some further thoughts about the Calls to Action
from UVic Dean Jeremy Webber:
from Professors Gillian Calder and Rebecca Johnson:
from Professor Lisa Kerr:
Professor Cunliffe’s talk, and the question about the TRC serves as an important reminder not to let this conversation die. Only by carrying the momentum forward can the TRC’s Calls be lifted off the page and into action. Seems like we have a lot of work to do.
Emma Cunliffe (UBC Law) at the IFLS January 8 2016, 1230-2
RSVP at bit.ly/osresearch, use event code Emma (or click through the image below and use event code Emma)
In March 2015, Bradley Barton was acquitted of murder in relation to the death of Cindy Gladue. Gladue was a Métis mother who bled to death in the bathroom of an Edmonton hotel, allegedly while Barton slept. Barton testified that her wounds had been caused by consensual ‘rough sex’. The forensic pathologist called by the Crown at Barton’s murder trial invited the jury to inspect Gladue’s preserved body tissue in order to reach their own conclusions about how her injuries were caused. (R v Barton, 2015 ABQB 159.) When the acquittal was reported, Indigenous communities, women’s advocates and others responded with anger and dismay. The trial judge’s decision to allow the pathologist to introduce Gladue’s body tissue became a particular focus of disapprobation (eg Sampert, 2015; Cormier, 2015).
This talk will investigate whether expert evidence and legal conceptions of expertise function as Trojan Horses by which discriminatory stereotypes and implicit bias find purchase within Canadian legal processes regarding gendered violence. In particular, Dr. Cunliffe will consider whether the failure of legal processes to respond adequately to gendered violence is partly produced by legal conventions and expert opinions that undermine Charter commitments to fair and egalitarian fact determination.
Emma Cunliffe is an associate professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Her research analyses the fact determination functions of courts, and particularly addresses expert scientific and medical evidence, the role of implicit stereotypes and bias in the criminal justice system, and the principles of open justice. Emma has received the Killam Prize for Teaching Excellence and the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching. At UBC, she teaches evidence, criminal law, jurisprudence and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Emma’s last visit to York was for the SLST series in 2014, when she talked Women and Wrongful Convictions.
Prof. Cunliffe visited York a long time ago (November 2013, my apologies for being so behind, here is the original announcement) & gave a talk as part of the Socio-Legal Studies Speaker Series about work she and Prof. Deb Parkes are doing on Wrongful Convictions & Women. Provides interesting overview of studies of wrongful convictions generally and identifies ways that the parameters and discourse of the field may exclude consideration of women’s experiences of wrongful conviction.
Possible teaching tool – or of course for your own edification.
The Socio-Legal Studies 2013-2014 Speaker Series
Friday, November 22, 2013 2:30 – 4:00pm
Ross South 701
Faculty of Law University of British Columbia
Women and Wrongful Convictions: Learning from Difference
Dr. Emma Cunliffe is an Associate Professor in the UBC Faculty of Law. Dr. Cunliffe’s research focuses on medical, scientific and behavioural evidence in criminal trials; and more generally considers the interplay between expert knowledges, common sense and legal reasoning. She is the author of Murder, Medicine and Motherhood (Hart Publishing, 2011) which examines the case of Kathleen Folbigg, a mother who was convicted of murdering her children based on misleading medical evidence. Her book demonstrates how legal process, medical knowledge and expectations of motherhood work together when a mother is charged with killing infants who have died in mysterious circumstances. With funding from SSHRC, she is working with Professor Christine Boyle on a project examining child homicide cases in Canada. Dr Cunliffe is a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Evidence & Proof. At UBC, she teaches criminal law, evidence and a graduate seminar in research methodologies and has won the Killam Award for Teaching Excellence and the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching.
Co-Sponsored by: Criminology and the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies