In January 2015, Osgoode Professor Stepan Wood and McMurtry Fellow David Estrin welcomed six Osgoode JD students into the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinical pilot project, the precursor to the EJS Clinical Program that will begin in September 2015.
The students worked under the joint supervision of Professors Estrin and Wood and lawyers at external partner organizations including the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Ecojustice, the West Coast Environmental Law Association and a major municipality.
The six students worked on legal issues related to the impacts of climate change on public infrastructure; lessons of the US environmental justice movement for Canada; citizens' access to information to enable them to exercise their rights under the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights; and the removal, storage and disposal of soil from major construction projects.
The students conducted a variety of research into Canadian and foreign cases, statutes, academic commentaries, and government policies. They produced a variety of deliverables for their partner organizations, including legal research memos, a scholarly conference paper, and archives of primary materials. They also took turns leading seminar discussions during which they reflected on putting theories of environmental justice, sustainability, public interest law and clinical education into practice in the context of their clinical work.
Even though the term was interrupted by a labour disruption at York University, the students had the opportunity to take a field trip to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, where they sat in on a complex land use planning hearing and met with ERT staff lawyers and with Jerry DeMarco, Alternate Executive Chair of Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, Associate Chair of the Conservation Review Board, Associate Chair of the Environmental Review Tribunal and Member of the Assessment Review Board, Board of Negotiation, and Ontario Municipal Board.
The pilot project was a great success, establishing constructive relationships with several partner legal organizations, generating useful outputs for them, and providing the students with valuable learning experiences.
The pilot project was also a crucial input to the creation of an official Environmental Justice and Sustainability clinical program at Osgoode, which was ultimately approved in April, 2015.
In the photo: Back row, left to right, Gun Koleoglu '16, Zach D'Onofrio JD/MES '16, Catherine Musekamp '16, Jessica Zita '16 and Professor Stepan Wood '92. Front row: Jessica Rosenberg '15, Joslyn Currie JD/MES '16, Adjunct Professor & McMurtry Fellow David Estrin.
Posted April 30, 2015 by Stepan