The Project will incorporate two components over the course of the academic year for which students will receive a total of 9 credits: an academic component and a clinical component.
Academic component: Seminar (Law 482C) “Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice”
Law 482C, “Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice” will comprise the academic component. The seminar will be offered in the Fall term and is a co-requisite for participation in the Project. Students selected for the Project have priority registration. Students will receive three credits for this component and receive a letter grade at the end of the term. The course 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 can be organized into three further categories:
- Skills training
- Weekly office hours in the Innocence Project office
The clinical component of the Project will be a full year, 6 credit program. Students have been selected to participate in the program through an interview process held in April. Students selected are required to have taken Evidence or be scheduled to take it over the course of the 2020/21 academic year.
Weekly sessions will cover various skills that students will use in their casework and issues they will face either in their casework or their criminal law practice. These sessions will include the following:
- Fact Investigation
- Interviewing skills training – 2 or 3 sessions
- Case Management Software – training
- Running Innocence Project office – training
- Overview of a Post-Conviction Review File
- Forensic Pathology Overview
- DNA Overview
- Understanding Police Investigations and Reports
- Police Photo-Lineup Procedure (Sophonow recommendations)
- Visit to police detachment (photo-lineups, interrogation rooms, etc)
- Appellate practice – tips on reviewing transcripts Criminal Defence Practice – advice from a successful defence lawyer
- The Canadian Parole System and BC Prisons
- Criminal Defence Practice – maintaining objectivity
As students get cases assigned to them and begin their casework, these weekly sessions will also be used to conduct “case rounds” in which students will talk about their cases and obtain input from their fellow clinicians and the Director. Sessions may also be added throughout the year on various topics.
Students will be required to maintain a number of office hours per week during which they will be assigned various research, writing and file management tasks. These may include office administration, addressing incoming applications, and working on legal research or memoranda as required by the Project.
Students will be assigned cases as applications come in to the UBC Innocence Project office and pass the “eligibility guidelines” review. Students’ work on the cases which pass the first stage of review will include document review, interviewing the applicant and potential witnesses, legal research and writing, fact investigation and transcript review.
How to apply
For application information please visit the Clinics & Externships webpage on the Faculty's website.
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