LCO developing education modules


The Law Commission of Ontario is embarking upon a novel initiative to help make the practise of law more effective. With funding from the Ontario Women’s Directorate, the LCO is developing law school curriculum modules on violence against women. Each module — available to every Ontario law school — may be integrated into existing courses, combined to form a full course or serve as a freestanding intensive program.

“Our goal is for all law students, not just those planning to practice family, criminal or tort law, to learn how to address these issues and work with clients who have experienced violence,” says LCO Executive Director Patricia Hughes.

The modules, to be developed and tested toward a September 2012 launch, may range from identifying at-risk cases and clients, to how to inspire trust.

“This is a matter of professionalism,” says Martha Jackman, the University of Ottawa’s Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession. “Too often we tend to focus on the underlying legal policy issues without remembering lawyers are service providers. Every legal service provider should have training in this issue.”

The LCO has retained consultant Pamela Cross, an expert in violence against women and experienced in helping develop law-related curricula, to lead the initiative in consultation with an advisory group of academics, judges, lawyers, service providers, police and students.