Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)
note: This is a one-time program for Inuit students
only. New applications are not being accepted at this time.
A Program of the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law in partnership
with Nunavut Arctic College and The Akitsiraq Law School Society
offered in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
importance of a learning institution in the area of law in Nunavut
cannot be underestimated. Nunavummiut need to prepare for the
if we are to reach our full potential.
The Honourable Paul Okalik, Premier of Nunavut
cannot emphasize enough the importance of a learning institution
in the law, and the
need for Inuit to attend and prepare for the many challenges in
along with our Northern neighbours.
The Honourable James Igoliorte, Judge, Provincial Court of Newfoundland
Northern Law Program
need for Inuit lawyers
and for a new approach to legal education:
the North there is a growing need for Inuit Lawyers in all levels
of public service, in industry and for the private practice of
law. Identified as a major priority by the Government of Nunavut,
legal education for Inuit would address the systemic barriers
to Inuit employment, greatly improve the delivery and quality
of services to the majority population, and meet the representative
Inuit employment obligations as provided in the Nunavut Land Claims
Agreement. Indeed, key to the success of Nunavut is the training
and education of its beneficiaries in all sectors of the professional
Akitsiraq Law School program has been established to address this
specific need by providing a unique opportunity for Inuit students
to receive a legal education in Nunavut and to become fully qualified
Inuit with invaluable tools to build their society, this one-time
program will have a lasting effect on the development of Nunavut.
Partnership Creating a Law School in the North
idea behind the Akitsiraq Law School has developed over the past
ten years. The Akitsiraq Law School Society is a result of those
ongoing discussions and enthusiasm. The Akitsiraq Law School is
an innovative approach to delivering legal education to Inuit
students in their own social, cultural, and geographical environment
in the North. The School is based on a partnership between the
Akitsiraq Law School Society, the University of Victoria, Faculty
of Law, and Nunavut Arctic College.
The Akitsiraq Law School Society
Akitsiraq Law School Society is a, non-profit, organization in
Nunavut, composed of Inuit community members, educators, and local
legal professionals. The Society was founded to promote the establishment
of a law school in Nunavut and it will remain an active partner
through its role of ensuring that the school reflects the unique
realities of the North and the priorities of the Inuit.
University of Victoria, Faculty of Law
University of Victoria Faculty of Law is recognized as one of
Canada's leading law schools. It is particularly known for its
student centered and skills based approach to legal education,
its commitment to social justice and diversity in the legal profession,
and the excellence of its students and faculty. It is the only
law school in the country with a co-op program that integrates
education and work experience.
Arctic College has an important role to play as a partner in the
delivery of the law school program. Key resources that the College
contributes include expertise in delivery of education to Inuit,
understanding of distinctive learning styles, counseling and other
forms of support and facilities.
Inuit students are able to earn a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB)
from the University of Victoria through the academic program offered
in Iqaluit, Nunavut using the facilities of Nunavut Arctic College.
Courses are taught by University of Victoria faculty members and
law professors from other Canadian universities with assistance
from local members of the legal profession. Graduates of this
program will have exactly the same credentials to practice law
as students graduating from southern law schools.
September 2001, there was a one-time admission of a group of students
who are progressing through the program together. The program
will take 4 years to complete on a full-time basis. There are
currently no plans to admit students in later years.
program provides a very high faculty-student ratio and substantial
support to students through mentoring, tutoring and general skills
the introductory year, students received some exposure to courses
normally taught at law schools, such as Criminal Law and Contracts.
The emphasis, however, was on teaching the students about fundamental
legal concepts and institutions through a Legal Process course
and providing them with the skills necessary to succeed at law
school through a Legal Research and Writing course, including
a studies skills component.
the following three years all standard law school compulsory courses
will be included, along with a selection of other courses. Several
courses, of particular relevance to the Inuit and to the North,
will be developed or tailored specifically for the program. These
may include courses on customary law, community justice initiatives,
alternative dispute resolution, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement,
environmental law, and northern resources law and management.
Traditional Law and Inuit Qaujimatuqangit was a component of the
Legal Process course in the introductory year and will be incorporated
throughout the law program using the expertise of elders and local
educators from across Nunavut and other Inuit regions.
order for students in the Akitsiraq Law School to gain broader
exposure to all aspects of a university education they will be
encouraged, in later years of the program, to spend one term of
study in the South, either at the University of Victoria or another
Canadian law school.
Akitsiraq Students Attend University of Ottawa
past month has been an exciting one for the students in the Akitsiraq
Law School Program. Having completed their academic year in December,
our students are now in their 3-month work placements with various
organizations including the RCMP, Justice Canada and the Government
of Nunavut where they will be gaining valuable experience before
once again resuming their academic program in May, in Iqaluit.
Through the financial generosity of The
Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation, The Maurice Price Foundation,
the federal Department of Justice and Nelligan O'Brien Payne law
firm, and the efforts of Dean Andrew Petter (UVic), Dean Bruce
Feldthusen (University of Ottawa Common Law Section), Northern
Director Shelley Wright (Iqaluit, NU) and Southern Director Kim
Hart Wensley (UVic), all students in the Akitsiraq Program had
the opportunity to spend three weeks in Ottawa in January 2004
where they studied law in the University of Ottawa Faculty of
Law Intensive Program. Each student chose one course not otherwise
offered by Akitsiraq. This gave the students an opportunity to
be taught by professors who are not involved in the Akitsiraq
Program, to interact with law students from other parts of Canada,
to share their knowledge of their culture and the North with others,
and to discuss issues of importance to them with their peers.
The trip was a great success as attested to by the Akitsiraq students
"I would like to thank all of the
sponsors who made it possible for the Akitsiraq students to
attend the intensive program offered by the University of Ottawa.
The courses were exceptional and the interaction with the various
professors and fellow students were enriching. Some of the more
memorable events outside of the class room included a lunch
with some of the members of Nelligan O'Brien and Payne and our
very own Premier, the Honourable Paul Okalik, who is a graduate
of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. We also had a tour
of the Supreme Court of Canada complete with a one-on-one discussion
with Madam Justice Louise Arbour; a meeting with Minister of
Justice Irwin Cotler; and afternoon tea with Her Excellency
the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of
Canada. I also had the pleasure of attending my very first live
NHL hockey game where the Ottawa Senators decimated the New
York Rangers 9 to 1." (Henry Coman)
"I was thrilled to attend OttawaU.
I loved the idea of taking a course of my choice. I chose Forensic
Evidence because I am interested in becoming a defense counsel."
"There were many aspects of the
Ottawa trip that I enjoyed… in particular…listening
to the comments and questions of the UofO students during our
classes. It was nice to get a different perspective... One of
my favourite experiences was our dinner with the Aboriginal
Students Association… I liked listening to the Aboriginal
students from U of O talk about treaty and land claim issues.
The passion with which they spoke was motivating and inspirational."
"Over all the visit was great. I
took Aboriginal Business Law and I learned so much from it…
Professor Tracey Lindberg was fabulous. She gave us many tools
to use in the future. The Inuit, First Nations and non-Aboriginal
speakers who gave talks on specific issues dealing with the
economy and the Constitution gave me hope for the future. They
made me realize that I don’t need to carry around the
effects and pain of colonialism… I was so inspired by
their knowledge and lack of ill feelings … What I learned
was to focus on what we as Inuit want to do and also that is
nothing is impossible. I liked hearing about First Nations who
have taken control of their own lives in dealing with social,
health, and education issues. I got the sense that we need to
keep on going so that others can follow behind us… knowing
that we are accomplishing something worthwhile. Qujannamiik."
law school is a full-time, four year program that intersperses
educational terms with work terms in which students are able to
gain practical experience working with the sponsoring organizations.
remaining academic terms are:
Summer Term 2004 - May to August
Term 2004 - September to December
Term 2005 - May to August
work placements in the witners of 2004 and 2005.
The program was open to Inuit candidates from all of Canada's
Provinces and Territories.
were interviewed by an admissions committee and considered on
an individual basis taking into account a variety of factors including
employment history, involvement in public government, voluntary
community activities, academically related extra-curricular activities,
and academic performance.
Student Sponsorship and Financial Assistance
Sponsorship Program was developed as a unique way of providing
financial assistance to enable Nunavut students to study at the
Akitsiraq Law School. It is an alternative to the Financial Assistance
for Nunavut Students program (FANS). The program invloves sponsors
providing on-going financial support to the students and, in exchange,
students will work for sponsors at certain times throughout their
years of study and following graduation. The sponsorship program
takes account of the many challenges experienced in the delivery
of professional postsecondary education in the North and aims
to address the problems previously experienced by Nunavut students.
To date, the Government of Nunavut, the Department of Justice
of Canada and several Inuit organizations in Nunavut have agreed
to sponsor a number of Nunavut student positions.
is anticipated that the student sponsorship model will be the
principal means of providing funding of students.
financial assistance provided through the sponsorship consists
base allowance sufficient to meet the needs of students; and
Housing arrangements that are similar to the Government of Nunavut
The financial assistance provided under the sponsorship program
is at a level which allows the students to have their essential
needs met so that they may concentrate on their studies.
Sponsorship Agreement and Student Work Commitments:
return for sponsorship, students are required to make commitments,
which are set out in formal agreements. The following terms are
students attend classes regularly, complete their assignments,
and make a genuine effort to succeed.
students do law-related work for sponsors during periods of
the year when classes are not in session.
students article after graduation and seek admission to the
Law Society of Nunavut (or to the Law Society of another territory
or province in the case of students from outside of Nunavut).
That, following their call to the bar, students do legal work
for a sponsor for a minimum of two years or do other legal
work in Nunavut for four years. (Students from outside of
Nunavut may be required to do the legal work in their own
territory or province).
That, subject to special circumstances, students pay back
the financial support which they received if they drop out
of school or do not fulfill their work obligations after graduation
and call to the bar.
For further information on the Akitsiraq Law School, please contact:
Akitsiraq Law School Program
PO Box 2292
Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0
Tel: (867) 979-7228
Fax: (867) 979-7102
Faculty of Law
University of Victoria
PO Box 2400
Victoria, BC V8W 3H7
Tel: (250) 721-8190
Fax: (250) 721-8146