uOttawa Civil Law remodels degree to meet needs of the modern lawyer


By Paul Logothetis

Media Relations Agent, University of Ottawa

Hand points at document
Olia Danilevich (Pixels)
Indigenous rights, AI, environment, and video games among the themes the Faculty of Law wants to prepare students for

The University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law-Civil Law Section is revamping its law degree program for students to meet the needs of the modern lawyer, adding focus to Indigenous rights, artificial intelligence (AI) and other 21st century issues.

Changes to courses will include the addition of a mandatory first-year course titled Indigenous Peoples and the Law, which will study the history and impact of the residential schools system, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the history of Indigenous rights and treaties, Indigenous law and legal traditions, and Indigenous-Crown relations.

This addition is in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 28, which urged law faculties across Canada to provide students with a such course to ensure future lawyers are educated about their responsibilities to First Nations people and to relay the importance of sensitivities of Indigenous legal orders.

Obligatory courses will be updated to integrate new technologies and their ethical questions, and a new block of optional classes will be created to include cross-disciplinary legal studies. These will touch on the laws surrounding: agriculture; corporate social responsibility; environment; health; racial theories; video games, and more.

uOttawa’s Civil Law Section, whose roots trace to 1953, has been a pioneer in teaching and research of Indigenous law for over 30 years. Most recently, it launched Canada’s first Indigenous Law Certificate Program in French.

This revamp initiative is the culmination of four years of reflection, consultation and discussion within the Civil Law Section community.

“Our faculty’s location in the heart of the nation’s capital at the confluence of civil law, common law and Aboriginal legal systems will allow us to build on our strengths and unique expertise among civil law faculties while meeting the expectations of the legal profession and the communities our graduates are called on to serve,” says Civil Law Dean Marie-Eve Sylvestre.

The new curriculum will be implemented in the Fall 2024 semester.

For a full breakdown of the upcoming changes, please visit the Civil Law Section webpage.

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