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Lawyer joins Queen’s Prison Law Clinic

After years of serving clients at a range of Ontario institutions, the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic (QPLC) has proven to be a rewarding – and challenging – place to work.

[Moiz Baig]
Moiz Baig, right, meets with David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance. (Supplied Photo)

A recent addition to the QPLC team, lawyer Moiz Baig comes from a background of private practice with people’s rights foremost on his mind.

“While I was in private practice, I exclusively served clients with disabilities regarding legal battles they had with government decision makers, insurance companies, and private individuals,” he says. “Some of my clients had been involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, limiting their freedom in a manner very similar to imprisonment. People with disabilities have also historically been excluded from many aspects of society – and people sent to prison are by definition excluded from society. So some issues and the ways to advocate for their legal rights are similar, even though the legal framework and decision makers are different.”

One of the draws of clinic work was the opportunity to work in an experiential learning environment – for Mr. Baig, another way to give back.

“Having been a clinic student during law school and a summer student at another specialty legal clinic, I know the challenges and rewards of experiential learning,” he says. “In many instances, no one else is on the side of the clients we serve at the Queen’s Law Clinics, so I would like to instill in students the value of the work we do here, and try to inspire them to use their experience with the clinic as a springboard for a career in social justice.”

Among Mr. Baig’s springboards into public justice has been meeting David Lepofsky, Volunteer Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance at Queen’s Park.

“He’s a lawyer with the provincial government and an inspiring public speaker,” Mr. Baig says. “Mr. Lepofsky is the reason why public transit vehicles in Ontario must have an audio announcement of the next stop, so that people with impaired vision know when to exit.

“I hope to bring about meaningful change, the way he has, for people who have been excluded from society.”

This article was first published on the website for the Faculty of Law at Queen's University.

Update on renovation work at Macdonald Hall

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, a crew from Christmas Steel began repair work on the interior stairwell that leads from the basement level to the second floor of Lederman Law Library within Macdonald Hall. There will be intermittent noise disruptions and dust resulting from this work in the coming days.

Any questions or concerns regarding this project should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.

Law grad Ghana’s first female electoral commissioner

[Charlotte Osei]
Charlotte Osei, LLM’95, becomes the first woman to head the Electoral Commission of Ghana as she is officially sworn in on June 30. (Supplied Photo)

Graduates of Queen’s Law are renowned for taking on interesting challenges around the globe. This summer in Ghana, a Master’s graduate from Queen’s is blazing new trails in government and doing her part to change the face of democracy in the nation.

Charlotte Osei (LLM’95), was sworn in as the head of the Electoral Commission of Ghana on June 30, by Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama in a ceremony held in the capital city of Accra.

The scope of her duties as chairperson includes supervising every public election and referenda, demarcating electoral boundaries and declaring the winner of presidential elections. As the first female Electoral Commissioner, Ms. Osei has been lauded for her abilities and dedication to the public service.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Osei was the chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education. Before taking a position in the civil service, she was the founder and lead counsel of Prime Attorneys, a leading law firm in Accra. She was also a senior legal officer for the GCB and company secretary/legal adviser for Unibank Ghana Limited. As a lawyer she has worked in the areas of public service management, institutional reform, corporate law, banking, insurance, project financing and public-private partnerships and employment.

While at Queen’s Law, Osei was supervised by Professor Rosemary King – also from Ghana – and wrote her thesis entitled: “Reclaiming Ourselves”:  Re-examining the status of Ghanaian Women Under Customary Law.

Ms. Osei’s other degrees are a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, Pretoria and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Ghana in 1992. She was called to the bar in 1994.

This article first ran on the Faculty of Law’s website.

Increasing access to justice

Queen’s pro bono student group provides free legal services to community groups and organizations.

Queen’s University law students are reaching out to local community organizations to provide free legal services as part of Pro Bono Students Canada. The national law organization has provided more than 125,000 hours of free legal services to nearly 500 public interest organizations.

The Queen’s chapter has been providing legal services for 15 years.

Rosa Stall (l), Adam Giel and Ainsley Hunter run the Queen's chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada.

“We are one of 21 chapters in Canada that are working to bridge the access to justice gap,” says Adam Giel (Law’16). “Law students work on a volunteer basis and develop practical legal skills, which is valuable for their career development, while helping out community groups and non-profit organizations.”

Each year, groups apply to the Queen’s chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada and present a project where legal assistance is needed. Short-term projects are the foundation of the program, but Mr. Giel says they also can work on projects spanning several years.

Queen’s law students have worked with a number of different organizations including the chambers of commerce in Kingston and Napanee, public groups relating to the Wellington St. extension and other municipal issues, the Boys and Girls Club’s Youth Diversion Program, the Kingston Chamber Choir and Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Giel says his goal this year is to expand the number and type of projects.

Though not practicing lawyers, the students in the program can provide a wide range of legal services under the supervision of a qualified lawyer. The services include:

  • Drafting policies or manuals for organizations
  • Delivering public legal education workshops and seminars
  • Providing legal information to organizations, helping with legal research and answering questions about all areas of law

“Our supervisors are not just lawyers, they are mentors,” explains Mr. Giel. “Along with helping the community, it’s a great opportunity for students to learn from experts and also network. It also exposes the students to different types of law and to career opportunities in the public interest. This program is important to the faculty, students and the community as a whole.”

A few project spots are still available for the upcoming academic year. For information on the Queen’s chapter visit the website.

Strengthening the research culture

[Research Mentors Yolande Chan]
Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), the Queen’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) leader, says she has seen increased engagement for faculty through the Research Mentors program. (University Communications)

The Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio is aiming to increase research engagement, collaboration and funding for faculty conducting their research in the social sciences, humanities and the creative arts through a research mentorship pilot initiative.

While the newly created Research Mentors program definitely has a mentoring aspect, it actually provides much more. The 16 Research Mentors act as leaders in peer review processes for grant applications to improve funding success. They also help to identify potential nominees for awards and research celebrations, like the recent PechaKucha Research Showcase.

The Research Mentors are mid-career to senior faculty in the social sciences, humanities and the creative arts with a high level of experience and knowledge of the grant application processes. The role is voluntary, and each Research Mentor has the freedom to approach the position differently – but they are all encouraged to start peer review processes in their cognate groups, and to develop awards committees.

“The early results have been positive,” says Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), the Queen’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) leader, and an E. Marie Shantz Professor of Management Information Systems in the Queen’s School of Business. “Some mentors are very much on fire and they themselves have been renewed as a result of being part of this program and are now acting in catalytic ways, assisting others.”

The effects of the Research Mentors can also be seen in the turnout for events such as a recent information session on SSHRC Insight Grant applications where many more people registered than in the recent past. “We are already seeing greater SSHRC engagement,” she says. “The program is designed to strengthen the research culture by creating excitement and a buzz. The Research Mentors are actively promoting, giving visibility to, and celebrating their colleagues’ success.”

Further information can be found at the Research Mentors webpage. Questions about the program may be directed to Dr. Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research).

Artists Among Us: Solitude allows the words to flow

The Artists Among Us is a series of profiles of Queen’s staff members who pursue artistic endeavours in addition to their work at the university. The Gazette will feature staff members on an occasional basis and welcomes suggestions. If you have ideas of people to profile, please contact Wanda Praamsma at wanda.praamsma@queensu.ca

Musician Megan Hamilton, an administrative assistant in the Faculty of Law, will be performing this summer at the Wolfe Island Music Festival, while her new album is set to be released in September. (University Communications)

Megan Hamilton first started writing music when she was in her late 20s, while in Toronto after studying theatre at Ryerson. She was living alone for the first time in her life, and while lonely at times, she found the solitude freeing.

“I started writing music, short stories, plays. There was no social media at the time, and I didn’t have a computer – very few distractions,” says Ms. Hamilton, now a well-regarded Canadian musician who also works full-time as an administrative assistant in the Faculty of Law. “I felt I didn’t need anyone’s permission and it became a really creative time for me.”

Even though she never imagined herself singing, Ms. Hamilton recorded a few songs with a friend. It was then that she decided she “could do this,” and instead of pursuing theatre, she moved into the musical sphere. 

“I liked that with music, I didn’t have to wait for other people, which I felt like I was doing in theatre,” she says. “I could just go out and do my own thing.”

A few years later, in 2006, she released her first album, Feudal Ladies Club, and since then, she’s toured across Canada, promoted several more albums, and developed a following for her folk/pop-edge/shoegaze style. In August, Ms. Hamilton will be on stage at the Wolfe Island Music Festival, and on Sept. 25, she releases her fifth album, Forty Warm Streams to Lead Your Wings. This latest album is being produced by singer/songwriter and producer Jim Bryson, who has toured and/or recorded with The Tragically Hip, Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards, among others.

“It’s a really busy, exciting time,” she says. “It’s satisfying, getting my music out there, since it’s a much bigger challenge these days.” 

Ms. Hamilton also combines life as a musician and Queen’s staff member with life as a parent, as mother to a four-year-old daughter. It’s a delicate balance, she says, to find time for everything, and the space to write. 

Like her early days writing alone in Toronto, Ms. Hamilton needs complete quiet and separation to set down the stories that become her songs. And, perhaps aptly, her lyrics are often rooted in themes of loneliness, sadness, and love/relationship issues.

Megan Hamilton plays the Wolfe Island Music Festival Friday Aug. 7.
Visit her Facebook page for more information about her new album, Forty Warm Streams to Lead Your Wings, and tour dates.

“I usually start with a visual image,” she says. “Then a scene unfolds, and generally the lyrics flow pretty quickly from that. I also love playing with rhyme and rhythm. I play games – like working with syllables, trying to figure out how to structure a line. I think these things all stem from my childhood, things I used to do. On long car rides, I would count telephone poles – there’s this rhythm there – and then chop the poles down in my mind.”

Through promoting her own music, Ms. Hamilton has become an expert organizer, and those abilities extend into her work in Queen’s Law, where among other administrative duties, she helps with event planning and payroll. She also provides public-speaking coaching for law students who are preparing for moot competitions. 

“I really love that, working with the students,” she says. “I’m really grateful for my position in the Faculty of Law. Everyone is really supportive of my musical career, and when I do have accomplishments to share, they are always there to celebrate with me.”

Lives Lived: A generous colleague and a beloved and inspiring teacher

Following a prolonged illness, Stanley M. Corbett, the Faculty of Law’s longest-serving Associate Dean, passed away peacefully at Kingston General Hospital on May 18, just 10 days before his 70th birthday. 

Stanley Corbett will be deeply missed by the Queen’s Law community. Faculty, staff and students, like his family and friends, were inspired by his limitless curiosity, touched by his generosity, and delighted by his gentle humour.

[Stanley Corbett]
Stanley Corbett

In Dr. Corbett’s 50-year history at Queen’s University – particularly during his time with the Faculty of Law – he distinguished himself as a scholar, author, teacher, mentor, leader, colleague, and friend. Those campus years included four degrees: BA’66, MA’72, PhD’82, and LLB’95. He started his studies in mathematics before moving to philosophy for post-graduate studies. After several years on faculty at Acadia University, including a term as head of the Philosophy Department, he left that academic career to return to Queen’s for a law degree.

Dean Bill Flanagan, who would become Dr. Corbett’s long-time colleague and friend, first met him in his property law class in 1992 and recalls he was a “terrific student” – which is why he was invited to join the faculty full-time in 1997, just two years after his graduation.

“Stan was a brilliant student,” agrees Professor Emeritus David Mullan (LLM’73, LLD’15), who had him in his first-year public law class. “Later, as a colleague, I benefitted greatly from our many discussions about emerging public law issues and our respective courses.”

Dr. Flanagan sees Dr. Corbett’s overall influence on Queen’s Law as incalculable. 

“It is rare that a single individual has an indelible impact on a school,” he says. “In our case, it is impossible to imagine what our faculty would be like today without Stan’s work here.”

Many of his greatest contributions to the faculty’s future were made as Associate Dean (Academic). He held this top academic post for an unprecedented three terms, starting in 2008, and, in the dean’s words, “always demonstrated skill, good judgment, a sense of humour, and dedication to the school.”

Colleagues also recall that Dr. Corbett routinely carried a heavier-than-usual teaching load, was ready to assist faculty and students with any challenge, and was an accomplished author with a commitment to justice. His 2007 book, Human Rights Law and Commentary (LexisNexis Canada), now in its second edition, is catalogued in more than 100 law libraries across North America, and he published more than two dozen articles, reviews and other materials over his career.

It was under his guidance that the law school expanded from classroom education into blended and online learning; added essential law skills courses to the first-year program; and updated and expanded the curriculum to meet the evolving needs of today’s law students – and the profession itself.

His other main legacy, among many, is as a teacher who shaped his students’ experience of Queen’s Law, both at home and abroad. Dr. Corbett won the Law Students’ Society Teaching Excellence Award three times. 

He was a leader in curriculum planning for the Law school and its Global Law Programs overseas, serving as the latter’s academic director at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle from 2008 to 2014. 

A celebration of his life will be held at Grant Hall in October.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on the website of the Faculty of Law.

Queen’s Business Law Clinic partners with microloan program

Kingston business owners who need legal help – and may not have the resources for conventional legal support – are already familiar with the services and mission of the Queen’s Business Law Clinic.

QBLC director Christian Hurley and a staff member speak to an attendee at the recently-held Kingston Community Foundation event. (Photo courtesy Genevieve Cairns, Kingston Community Foundation)

For years, the QBLC has been helping local business; since January, from a new downtown location as part of the consolidated Queen’s Law Clinics.

In June, the QBLC expanded its offerings once again, at a community meeting with other local small business support organizations. The focus of the meeting was the launch of the First Capital Community Development Loan Program, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, which aims to provide micro-loans to entrepreneurs who may have difficulty qualifying for traditional financing.

“Small businesses face a number of challenges and access to capital is typically a top concern,” says QBLC director Christian Hurley. “Access to free legal counsel through QBLC and operating capital through the Community Foundation’s new micro-loan program will help to ease that burden.”

Hosted by the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, the event also included Aterna Savings, the KEDCO Small Business Development Centre, Futurpreneur Canada, and the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation.

“It was energizing to see the number of support groups that attended this launch event,” Mr. Hurley says. “It is but one example of the incredible network available to local entrepreneurs that makes Kingston a great place to pursue dreams of small business success.” 

This article was first published on the website of Queen's University's Faculty of Law.

Flags lowered for Stanley Corbett

Flags on campus are currently lowered for Adjunct Assistant Professor Stanley Corbett (BA’66, MA’72, PhD’82, Law’95), Associate Dean, (Academic), for the Faculty of Law. He passed away on Monday, May 18.

Stanley Corbett

With links to Queen’s University stretching over five decades, Dr. Corbett began his studies in mathematics before moving to philosophy for his post-graduate degrees. After several years at Acadia University, he returned to Queen’s to earn a law degree and worked as an adjunct professor in philosophy and law before becoming a full-time member of the Faculty of Law in 1997.

Dr. Corbett was the faculty’s longest serving associate dean, initially taking up the position in 2008. He was also the academic director of the faculty’s Global Law Programs at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in England, where he taught a course in Public International Law.

He was a member of the affiliated faculty with the Queen's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and taught courses in the School of Policy Studies.

Dr. Corbett was a three-time winner of the Law Students’ Society teaching award.

A celebration of life will be held in the summer.

Queen’s remembers Madison Crich

Queen’s regrets to inform the community of the death of student Madison Crich. Madison, who passed away suddenly of natural causes on April 24, recently completed her first year of study in the Faculty of Law and was an accomplished dressage rider. 

[Madison Crcih]
Madison Crich

“On behalf of the Queen's community, I want to extend deep and sincere condolences to Madison's family and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this time,” says Principal Daniel Woolf.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, May 1. Details can be found at tubmanfuneralhomes.com. Flags on campus will be lowered in Madison’s memory.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact Health, Counselling and Disability Services at 613-533-6000 ext.78264 and/or University Chaplain Kate Johnson at 613-533-2186 or kate.johnson@queensu.ca. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080, or Kate Johnson at kate.johnson@queensu.ca.


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