January 2019 Newsletter

Read on for news and events from January 2019

Hello! After the AGM in November, the Law Union of BC (LUBC) is continuing its mission to use the law as a tool for social change, and 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

In this newsletter you'll find answers to questions such as:

  • What are the LUBC Working Groups currently working on?
  • How can I participate in these interesting and meaningful initiatives?
  • What has the newly-elected steering committee been up to, and why isn't the LUBC incorporated yet?
  • Are there any postings for public interest law jobs?
  • Are there other social justice-related events happening this month?

Working Group Updates

The LUBC Working groups are meeting once per month. Email [email protected] to sign up for updates, and please indicate which working group(s) you are interested in being a part of.

Overdose Crisis and Police Accountability

The new Overdose Crisis and Police Accountability Working Group is working to build strategies to end the criminalization of drug users in Vancouver.

Since its meeting on January 8, the working group has started researching an effort to lobby the police and municipal representatives to create a “sanctuary city” for drug possession. We welcome participation from lawyers, activists, and community members in this effort. We are also interested in potentially hosting a hackathon to develop an app responding to a community need with regard to police accountability or drug use.

Movement Legal Support & Housing

The Movement Legal Support and Housing Working Group (MLS) is building legal support capacity for movements, including Indigenous land & water protection and housing activists. 

At its meeting on January 23, the MLS discussed the legal status of current political actions in which arrests have taken place. MLS resolved to work on:

  • the feasibility of a dedicated hotline for activists to access legal support for actions and causes; and,
  • approaches for campaigning against the use of injunctions to stifle dissent, including mobilizing the broader activist community to encourage elected representatives to pass anti-SLAPP legislation.

If you would like to assist in the work of MLS, email the Steering Committee. The next meeting will be in February.

Access to Justice

The Access to Justice Working Group (A2J) met on January 23, and focused its discussions on the need to gather information from affected communities and service providers about how they experience barriers to legal services. Over the next month, the working group will be asking the LUBC membership to help administer a simple survey that will help it to define its goals and strategies.

The working group also began building a work process by which the LUBC can respond to the anticipated release of the Attorney General's report on the review of legal aid services.

We will be polling the working group membership to determine a time and location for a standing monthly meeting.

Want to join a Working Group? Click this button to sign up by email!

Steering Committee News

Society Incorporation

At the inaugural AGM of the Law Union in September 2017, the membership directed the Steering Committee to incorporate the Law Union under the Societies Act. Upon application, Societies BC requested permission from the Law Society of BC to register a society with the name “Law Union of BC.” The Law Society refused to grant such permission, stating concerns that the name might create misapprehensions that the organization is a labour union, that the Law Union “represents or acts in the interest of all British Columbia legal professionals, and that the name “Law Union of BC” may suggest a “misleading exclusivity . . . [as] a group that does not admit of peers within the Province.”

Given the current inability to incorporate as a Society with the desired name, the Steering Committee has decided to put the incorporation process on hold for the time being.

If you have further questions, please email the Steering Committee at [email protected].

Membership Renewal

The LUBC is a membership-driven organization. The steering committee is currently looking at ways to make membership sign up and renewal more convenient, and allow for more cohesive information sharing between working groups and members alike.

For now, in addition to events and meetings, the main point of contact is the [email protected] email.  A supporter signup form is also available on the LUBC website at: http://www.bclawunion.org/

Stay tuned for exciting news on this front in the coming months.

Are you based in Victoria?

Law Union members are in the process of establishing a Victoria chapter to organize at the local and provincial level.

If you live in Victoria or study at UVic and are interested in helping get this budding chapter off the ground or attending an inaugural meeting, please contact Julian at [email protected]. We will be holding our first meeting sometime in February, date TBA.


Jobs & Legal Work

If you know of a law job posting that may be of interest to Law Union members, please email it to [email protected] and it may be circulated in the next newsletter.

Endorsed Events and Actions

In Remembrance: The Quebec City Mosque Shooting

Monday, January 28, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street

Hosted by the BC Islamaphobia Legal Assistance Hotline. January 29 will mark two years since Alexandre Bissonnette gunned down down six worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City and severly injured five others. Join us as we mark the second anniversary of this event with a panel discussion.

NoDAPL Water Protectors

The LUBC has endorsed the Water Protector Legal Collective’s request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a thematic hearing on the suppression of indigenous resistance to extractive industries in North America.

The purpose of the hearing would be to examine the militarized response, criminalization and use of wrongful arrests, abusive conditions of confinement, and excessive force against water and land protectors resisting pipeline, mining and other extractive industry projects, and to encourage U.S. and Canadian national and local agencies to comply with their obligations under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to protect the security of indigenous human rights defenders and ensure their rights to free expression and assembly.