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University of Victoria Offers the FIRST EVER Indigenous Law Degree in the World

For the first time in history, the University of Victoria in Canada is set to launch a law degree that teaches not only about the common law, but to also get familiarized with the indigenous law. The students who will be able to pass and complete the four-year program will get two professional degrees and diplomas when they graduate. Yes! This means that not only you’ll become a Canadian Lawyer for Common Law, but you’ll also get a degree in Indigenous Law. That’s like hitting two birds with one stone!

Producing Prominent Common Law Lawyers

Chairman John Borrows was one of the Creators of Indigenous Law Program

The idea of combining the Canadian Common Law and the Indigenous law was first addressed in 1995. However, at that time, it wasn’t approved after the panel failed to present a working curriculum on how the program would undertake.

In 2003, the first draft proposal of the said law program was finally submitted. They emphasized how the program would help expand the lawyer’s knowledge about Canadian law. The head of the Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Law, John Borrows, didn’t give up his vision where Canadian lawyers aren’t only knowledgeable about the Common Law, but they also recognize the Indigenous law.

After the approval, the Canadian law council directed the team to continue developing the curriculum up to this day. After 23 years of hard work, Borrows and his team finally reaped what they sowed and brought to life this highly-important program.

The Indigenous Legal Order

The Indigenous law degree will cover the following areas:

– environmental protection law

– economic development for indigenous people

– right to housing and education for Indigenous communities

– child protection

– formulating a solid indigenous governance

– building productive leadership and partnership between the two legal systems.  

Indigenous Law, a Reputable Canadian Law

Fortunately, the provincial government showed its support by allocating a funding during its BC budget deliberation last February 20, 2018, for the program. The Indigenous Law degree is set to launch this Fall. The program was finally included in the official list of degrees under the B.C’s Degree Authorization Act.

The act serves as the seer and reviewer to ensure that the quality of education in acquiring both degrees won’t be compromised while it’s being implemented in various universities and institutions. Burrows said that this serves as their greatest gift and legacy to the indigenous people. He wants them to know that the government didn’t forget about the First People of Canada.

The University of Victoria will Launch the new Law Program this coming September

The new law degree also provides law scholarships for Indigenous people, so they can avail studying both degrees for free. And, if deemed successfully, they can proceed with establishing Indigenous law institutes in the near future.  To extend further support for the said program, Borrows and his team also implemented the new Indigenous Legal Lodge and Law Research Unit where aspiring indigenous lawyers can practice their profession as early as possible.

They will finally be able to engage in debate, productive learning, public education, and get immersed in Indigenous legal traditions to have a full grasp on how Indigenous law works. Furthermore, the students will also have the opportunity to do fieldwork studies and go to Indigenous communities to mingle and experience how it is to live as an Indigenous people during the program’s tenure.

A Brighter Future for Canadian Law Students

It seems that everything’s going well for the creators of the program. Aside from the provincial government’s support, the University of Victoria welcomed the program with open arms and they are excited for the upcoming semester. UVic dean of Law Jeremy Webber even stated that the program received a universal support from its students.

The dean is optimistic that this will help promote engagement and active collaboration with Indigenous communities. This is also the perfect time for Indigenous communities to thrive and make great contributions to the country. He hopes that the new program will trigger a transformative yet positive impact in the Canadian community.

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