Further to the feedback that CALE/ACEJ sent to the CJC on December 20, 2020 regarding its draft Ethical Principles for Judges (EPJs), it sent an additional letter today with comments on the French draft EPJs.
New scholarship by CALE/ACEJ Board Member Pooja Parmar
This paper critically examines the turn to cultural competence as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) Calls to Action 27 and 28. I suggest that an uncritical embrace of cultural competence, as currently understood, is inadequate and might even prove to be counterproductive despite best intentions. While acknowledging that the focus on cultural competence is often driven by genuine commitments to reconciliation within the legal profession in Canada, I outline concerns which show that a limited and deficient conception of cultural competence is unlikely to assist lawyers in representing Indigenous clients better or change Indigenous peoples’ experience with the legal system more broadly. I suggest that the TRC Calls to Action demand a response that centres accountability, and that the legal profession must recognize Calls 27 and 28 as a unique opportunity to innovate and lead by rethinking legal education, competence, and ethical lawyering in a multi-juridical space such as Canada. I conclude with two suggestions for taking this conversation forward.
On January 31, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Governor General had appointed W. Brent Cotter as an independent Senator for Saskatchewan. CALE/ACEJ extends its warmest congratulations to Brent, a founding member of CALE/ACEJ who has served on its board of directors and as its Board Chair.
Prof. Cotter is one of Canada’s foremost legal ethicists. Over the course of his career, he has taught at universities across the country. He was the Dean of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. His scholarship on legal ethics has been foundational to the development of the field in Canada. He is a co-author of Canada’s leading legal ethics casebook. He has been a tireless mentor to many other more junior legal ethics scholars.