Canada’s first-ever animal law clinic opened this fall, created by students at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law. The exciting new initiative will help low-income people who need assistance with animal law matters, including “dangerous” dog cases, human rights cases involving disability support animals, or even penal cases in which someone is charged with an offence like trespassing simply for documenting and exposing the treatment of animals on farms. It will also provide a rare opportunity for students interested in animal law to get hands-on experience with the issues while still in law school.
The clinic currently operates under the umbrella of the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP), a non-profit that provides free legal advice and representation to people in the Lower Mainland area who would otherwise be unable to afford legal help.
The new animal law clinic was spearheaded by law student Emily Wilson, who also serves as co-president of the UBC Animal Justice Chapter. Ms. Wilson took the initiative to coordinate the clinic’s creation with the law school administration, and reached out to local lawyers who committed to serving as advisors and overseeing the students’ work. This includes prominent local animal lawyers Arden Beddoes, Rebeka Breder, Victoria Shroff, and Amber Prince.
“I think it will be beneficial for students who want hands-on experience in animal law, as well as illustrate what animal law can look like for those who are unsure,” said Ms. Wilson. “I think that access to justice for both low-income individuals and nonhuman animals is very important. Lastly, since it’s one of the first clinics of its kind, I am hoping that it will normalize animal law and help bring animal issues to the fore.”
Anyone in the Lower Mainland area is welcome to contact UBC LSLAP switchboard by calling 604-822-5791 to set up an appointment to see if the animal law clinic can assist.
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