New Noreen Golfman is the provost and academic vice-president of Memorial University, and is a supporter of the proposal to establish a faculty of law at the university. (Ted Dillon/CBC) It’s been talked about for many years, but there’s growing momentum once again for the establishment of a law school at Memorial University.
"This is going to happen," said Noreen Golfman, provost and academic vice-president.
The concept was given a boost last fall after MUN’s senate approved a detailed proposal for a faculty of law.
Golfman said it’s possible the board of regents could also green-light the idea some time this year, with a new school up and running over the next three to five years.
"Just about everything is in place. We’ve got lots of moral support. It’s really about getting down to the nuts and bolts of what it will cost," Golfman told CBC News on Thursday. High-profile support
The plan is getting some very high-profile support, with Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Justice Fonse Faour saying the absence of a law school is "a huge gap" in the province’s legal system.
Prince Edward Island is the only other Canadian province without a law school. Even Iceland, with a much smaller population than Newfoundland and Labrador, trains students in the practice of law, said Faour. Justice Fonse Faour, a member of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador judiciary, says a MUN law school could be successful. (CBC) "The research, the expertise and the contributions to the standards of practice would be invaluable," said Faour.
Currently, prospective lawyers must leave the province, and most go to the University of New Brunswick or Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Wouldn’t it be great to have our students stay here if they want to stay here? Study from our own legal experts? Study the issues that are relevant? I think that would be fabulous. "Wouldn’t it be great to have our students stay here if they want to stay here? Study from our own legal experts? Study the issues that are relevant? I think that would be fabulous," said Golfman.
"We heard from many people who said they would go to a law school if there was one in the province, but because of family or financial reasons they weren’t able to go outside the province," Faour added. Up to 100 students
A 2013 feasibility study recommended that MUN consider establishing a law school.
A revised committee that included Faour followed up with a detailed proposal that was completed last summer, and approved by the university senate in November.
It envisions a three-year degree program with up to 100 students per year, and a full-time faculty of 18.
The plan calls for the construction of a new building on the St. John’s campus, linked with the faculty of business administration, and next to the school of social work. Competitive tuition fees
Operating costs are estimated at $9 million annually, most of which would be covered by tuition fees that Golfman said will be competitive, affordable and accessible, especially for students from Newfoundland and Labrador.
She said there are plans to establish a scholarship fund to help those with limited means, similar to those at other law schools throughout Canada.
The construction of a new building will likely be the biggest hurdle, and Golfman said there are plans to initiate a fundraising campaign, and initiate talks with the provincial government."I think the will is there," she said, adding that there’s strong support from both the university’s alumni and those in the legal field."I’m optimistic. I think this province is overdue for a law school."But the push for a law school comes at […]
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