NEWS & EVENTS | November 25, 2019

Responding to the Shortage of Francophone Jurists

Deux participantes à la Journée juridique de l'USB.

Two participants of the Journée jurdique [Law Day] at USB.

Since the signing of an agreement in January 2017, Université de Moncton's Faculty of Law has committed to accept at least five students who hold an undergraduate degree from Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) and meet the basic admission requirements to its Juris Doctor program. This has also been the case for the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa since November 2017.

USB has shown that giving graduates access to legal studies is a priority.

In September, USB hosted the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada–a golden opportunity to raise students’ awareness about the legal profession. Then, in October, approximately 70 students participated in the first Journée juridique [Law Day], held on campus by the Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba (AJEFM) [Association of French-speaking jurists].

“There’s a lot of momentum at USB around the question of law,” affirms Alexandre Brassard, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. “We have more and more students who are interested in legal studies.”

The goal of Journée juridique, which welcomed important guests from Winnipeg, as well as from Moncton and Ottawa, was to spread the word that USB is an excellent choice for those wishing to pursue legal studies in French. “Before studying law, students need a bachelor degree in a field of their choice. Even in science,” he adds. “Science and law may seem unusual, but developing these kinds of specialized skills could be very useful, especially in environmental law.”

In addition, the University of Manitoba is in the process of creating a law program that would include 30 credit hours in French. “We don’t have spaces reserved at the moment, but we are exploring potential opportunities for partnership,” explains Alexandre Brassard.

AJEFM president, Mr. Alain Laurencelle, points out that this is a critical issue given the significant need in the francophone community for jurists who speak French, notably in criminal and labour law.

According to Alexandre Brassard, when people request legal services, they are often in crisis. “So it’s especially important that they be able to express themselves in their own language. USB has an important role to play by encouraging its students to study and then practice law in French.”

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