Law Student-Led Legal Research Day Supports Environmental Law Reform

UVic Environmental Law Club
Author: Conner Wear, UVic Environmental Law Club

Students of the UVic Environmental Law Club contribute the following guest post. They discuss their initiative to conduct an all-day legal research event, putting their learning of the legislative research process toward a public interest effort. The event was inspired by a national student-driven research event on another issue a year ago. We thank Slaw’s Kim Nayyer for coordinating this submission.

Friday February 2, 2018, the UVic Environmental Law Club coordinated a full day research-o-thon involving more than 50 law students from UVic. The event: “Mining Law in BC – Digging up a Dirty History” focused on the history of mining law in British Columbia with the goal of supporting the UVic Environmental Law Centre’s two-year project aimed at mining law reform. Environmental clubs from the faculties of law at UBC and TRU also supported through satellite events by engaging in related research questions to inform the final report.

The research was divided into four areas:

  1. the history of mining rights, exploration and prospecting legislation;
  2. the history of pollution control legislation in relation to mines;
  3. important mining events and catastrophes;
  4. the history of health, safety and reclamation code and the acid the acid rock drainage policy and guidelines.

The research will culminate in a timeline mapping the evolution of laws governing mining in BC and environmentally significant mining events in British Columbia. By tracking the history of BC’s prospecting and exploration laws and environmentally significant mining events in BC we can determine whether legislators have been responsive to issues as they arise in mining and determine to what extent, and at what pace, mining regulations have evolved in the province since the gold rush.

The final timeline and accompanying report will be shared with, and likely used by, environmental non-profits who have an interest in mining law reform and will support Environmental Law Centre’s work over the next two years.

The event was made possible by the dedication and support of several librarians from the University’s Law Library both before and during the event (including creating an incredible online research resource), staff from the Environmental Law Clinic, the members and executive of the Environmental Law Club and of course the more than 50 students who volunteered on the day.

University of British Columbia’s Environmental Law Group addressed some specific questions in a satellite research-o-thon this February 6, 2018 and Thompson Rivers Environmental and Natural Resources Law Club hosted an event on the same day.

Special thanks to Quickscribe Inc. for their generous financial contribution towards our snacks and caffeine for the day and of course thanks to the library for making an exception to the no food rule!


I think this event was a great success. We are so grateful to the students who contributed from around the province and for the support form faculty and staff. This type of event shows the way students are willing to engage when they are given the chance to learn with a purpose. I’m hopeful that the Environmental Law Club can put on another event like this next year to harness law students’ energy and abilities in order to create more effective and equitable environmental laws.

– Andhra Azevedo, Club President


I was invigorated, amazed, and delighted by all the energy in the room on Friday.

– Deborah Curran, Acting Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre

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