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 work dividing up the research and preparation tasks, a proposal for the Project was forwarded to the Curriculum Committee at the Faculty. In September 2007, the project accepted its first students and began investigating claims of wrongful conviction.
The UBC Innocence Project (the “Project”) at the Allard School of Law has been structured with a view to providing support to both the coursework and the casework. There are two levels of participation:
- I. Upper year law students working with Adjunct Professors and a Director
- II. Criminal defence lawyers as Supervising Lawyers for Project students
I. Student Participation
The Project has an academic and a clinical component. The academic component consists of a weekly 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 skills training sessions and/or 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.