How We Came to Be
In the summer of 2005, a number of law students, adjunct professors and lawyers came together to discuss the possibility of opening an Innocence Project at the law school at UBC. After two years of research and preparation, a proposal for the UBC Innocence Project (the Project) was forwarded to Allard Law’s Curriculum Committee. In September 2007, the Project accepted its first students and began investigating claims of wrongful conviction in British Columbia.
The Project at the Allard School of Law includes three levels of participation:
- hearing from lecturers and guest speakers in a weekly seminar;
- hearing from guest speakers and the Director in weekly group meetings; and
- working with criminal defence lawyers and the Director on Project cases.
I. Student Participation
The class component consists of a weekly co-requisite seminar: “Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice.” This seminar reviews the roles of professionals working in the criminal justice system (crown, police, defence, experts, etc) and discusses those areas of evidence which have most frequently led to wrongful convictions.
The clinical component of the Project can be organized into three further categories:
- weekly meetings with the Director;
- weekly office hours in the UBC Innocence Project office; and
- assigned casework.
II. Supervising Lawyers
Each student participant in the Project is assigned a Supervising Lawyer – an experienced criminal defence lawyer practicing in the Lower Mainland. The student and the lawyer meet on a regular basis to discuss the student’s assigned case(s) and any other criminal law or practice issues that arise.