Salima Samnani is a Kenyan Indo-Canadian Muslim immigrant. Her experience as a litigator and as a lecturer focuses on public law and civil law including family, child protection, and employment law. Salima’s research, areas of expertise, and advocacy focus mainly on access to justice, anti-racism, clinical legal education, and education for self-represented and underrepresented litigants. As a lecturer, she is passionate about implementing clinical legal education pedagogies that focus on trauma-informed, skills-based legal training from a feminist, anti-racist and decolonization perspective.
Salima is a lecturer and supervising lawyer at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic, which is located in the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
In addition to her duties at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, Salima is a Tribunal Member on the Civil Resolution Tribunal and creates legal content for the Legal Services Society with an eye on access to justice for groups made vulnerable by society in society. Samnani also manages an active private legal practice with a focus on employment law, especially complex workplace investigations.
Salima has served Indigenous groups for over a decade, first as Associate Counsel for the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry and then as counsel for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Salima earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Victoria, and a Master of Laws from the University of Fribourg in conjunction with the University of Bern and University of Neuchâtel, graduating at the top of her class. Her thesis, written for and in conjunction with the World Trade Organization and the Aga Khan Agency of Micro-finance, explored the impact of micro-finance banking under-regulation on people made vulnerable by society.
Indigenous Community Legal Clinic
- Indigenous Community Legal Clinic
- Civil law
- Courts, litigation and access to justice
- Human rights
- Law and social justice
- Legal education
- Public and constitutional law
My research interests focus on identifying and dismantling institutional and systemic barriers to meaningful inclusion through research, advocacy, litigation, and robust community engagement. I am particularly interested in the intersection of anti-racism and diversity, and how the power of social media can shift global politics.