University of Calgary is the Place to be for Environmental Law in 2015

By: Martin Olszynski, Scott Allen and Allan Ingelson

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Conferences Commented On: 2015 CAELS Conference: “Igniting a Spark”; CIRL/CBA NEERLS Symposium on Environment in the Courtroom; JELP 5: “Après le Deluge”

When it rains, it pours. And so it is that the first half of 2015 has the University of Calgary Faculty of Law hosting a series of national environmental law conferences.

2015 Canadian Association of Environmental Law Students (CAELS) Conference: “Igniting a Spark”, February 13 & 14, 2015

Formed in Ottawa a couple of years ago by the membership of the-then University of Ottawa Environmental Law Students Association, CAELS is a networking body connecting environmental law students across Canada. This past year, responsibility for organizing CAELS’ annual conference was transferred to the University of Calgary’s Environmental Law Society (ELS).

This year’s theme, “Igniting a Spark,” focuses on innovations and solutions to the pressing issues of Canadian environmental, energy and natural resources law and policy. The student-run ELS has done an impressive job of securing expert panellists from the private bar, academia, government and non-governmental organizations to discuss a wide range of issues including pipelines, liquefied natural gas development, climate change, federal environmental law reform and Aboriginal law issues.

Supported by the Alberta Law Foundation and the Shell Experiential Energy Learning Program, the 2015 CAELS Conference welcomes students and practitioners from all relevant disciplines to take part. The full program and registration are available here.

CIRL/CBA NEERLS Symposium on Environment in the Courtroom IV: “Evidentiary Issues in Environmental Prosecutions and Hearings”, March 6 & 7, 2015

Over the course of the past three years and with financial support from Environment Canada (EC), the Canadian Institute for Resources Law (CIRL) has organized a series of symposia intended to strengthen the understanding and application of environmental law in Canadian courtrooms (see here for an overview of previous symposia). This year, CIRL has teamed up with the National Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law Section (NEERLS) of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) to deliver the fourth instalment of this highly successful series, which will focus on evidentiary issues in environmental prosecutions and hearings.

Session topics include a cross-country check up on environmental prosecutions across Canada, a primer on the relevant science (everything you needed to know but were afraid to ask), issues with causation, the law on expert evidence, as well as more practice-oriented sessions, including how to prepare and cross examine expert witnesses. The full program is available here.

This year’s symposium is being held concurrently with the CBA NEERLS Annual Summit, which means networking opportunities for environmental lawyers throughout Canada and opportunities to discuss the most recent developments and current issues in environmental law more generally. Registration is available at CBA NEERLS.

Journal of Environmental Law and Practice (JELP) 5th Conference: “Après…le Deluge: Future Directions for Environmental Law and Policy in Canada”, June 6 & 7, 2015

Finally, the first weekend in June will see environmental law scholars, practitioners, as well as analysts from both government and non-governmental organizations, gather at the Faculty of Law and at the Kananaskis Field Station for the JELP’s 5th biennial conference.

This year’s conference theme, “Après… le Deluge,” invites participants to assess the current state of federal environmental law and policy, especially in the wake of the 2012 omnibus budget bills that introduced a new environmental assessment regime and amended several other acts, including the Fisheries Act, RSC 1985, c F-14 and the recently renamed Navigation Protection Act, RSC 1985, c N-22. Participants will also consider potential responses to what is widely perceived as a federal retreat in the environmental arena, whether by other levels of government (e.g. provincial, territorial, Aboriginal) or in other areas of law, such as the common law or international law.

A call for papers was sent out in mid-December, 2014 (proposals are still being accepted), and a finalized program should be available by the end of February, 2015. The program, as well as instructions for general registration, will be made available on JELP’s website at that time.

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About Martin Olszynski

B.Sc. in Biology (Saskatchewan), LL.B. (Saskatchewan), LL.M. Specialization in Environmental Law (University of California at Berkeley). Assistant Professor. Please click here for more information.
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