CELL Sets Milestone with Largest Student Cohort Yet

CELL Fall 2018 Cohort
CELL fall 2018 cohort (L to R): Chris Tollefson, Jason Fitzpatrick, Ruben Tillman, Allison Sproule, Owen Stewart, Lauren Mar, Jeff McEown, Alex Wheele, Anthony Ho. Photo credit: Anthony Ho.

A strong cohort of eleven law students completed a term in CELL’s educational program this fall. This has been the largest cohort of students in the six terms that CELL has offered its educational program to law students from across B.C. and the rest of Canada since the program began in 2016. Law students who completed the program this term consisted one first-year student, seven second-year students, three third-year students, and one Ph.D. candidate.

Under the supervision of CELL instructors, these students worked with a team of lawyers representing public interest litigants who have brought an appeal to the Environmental Appeal Board challenging the provincial government’s failure in safeguarding the health of the residents in the Kitimat airshed from unsafe exposure to increased industrial air pollution from an aluminum smelter. The appellants are two resident elementary school teachers and the local labour union representing workers from the smelter. Among the appellants’ arguments is an infringement of the right to life, liberty, and security of the person guaranteed under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The students gained first-hand experience working with the team of litigators in developing and running a piece of complex public interest litigation. Through immersion in this case, students developed skills in crafting legal strategy and argument, identifying relevant evidence, retaining and working with expert witnesses, understanding rules and procedure in an administrative tribunal, and dealing with ethical and professional conduct issues that arise.

One of this term’s students, Liam McGuigan (2nd year), gave the following testimony:

As a law student, working with CELL has been an invaluable experience. Being involved in an exciting piece of public interest litigation puts the classroom work in perspective. In addition to providing practical knowledge about how to run a case, CELL has reminded me what initially drew me to study law and reassured me that it is possible to do the work I’d like to. Thank you, CELL, for inspiring and equipping me to be the sort of lawyer I would like to be.

Posted: December 5, 2018

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