“Racism has no place in a society governed by the rule of law,” law deans say
The Council of Canadian Law Deans has committed to advancing law school initiatives to address racism and the role that the legal system plays in maintaining it.
The council has issued a statement denouncing anti-Black racism amid recent incidents of violence against racialized individuals, and indicating its support for racialized law students, faculty members and staff who have felt pain and anguish due to these reports.
The council committed to developing or supporting curricular, extracurricular and clinical offerings, and research projects that would contribute toward the goal of eliminating racism from the legal system. It also aims to ensure that its student recruitment and faculty hiring processes adhere to this objective.
“This goal is vitally important because we know that law is not inherently neutral or progressive,” said the council. “[W]e are regretfully aware that graduates of our faculties – many of whom have held positions of leadership in Canadian society – have played significant roles in the development and perpetuation of colonial and systemically racist policy and practices.”
The council also intends to explore further ways by which the law may be wielded as a “force for change in unsettling embedded racism.”
Law students, as future members of the legal profession, should understand their responsibility to improve the current situation, said the council. Law schools and legal educators can, in turn, help in dismantling racist systems by tackling these issues in the curriculum.
The council comprises the heads of Canadian law schools, who come together to consult on matters that mutually impact them. The council thanked the chapters of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada for their leadership during this time.