Akitsiraq Law School
A legal education program for Inuit students offered by the University of Victoria in Iqaluit using the facilities of Nunavut Arctic College.
- University of Victoria Faculty of Law
- Nunavut Arctic College
The idea behind the Akitsiraq Law School has developed over the past ten years. The Akitsiraq Law School Society is a result of those ongoing discussions and enthusiasm. The Akitsiraq Law School is an innovative approach to delivering legal education to Inuit students in their own social, cultural, and geographical environment in the North. The School is based on a partnership between the Akitsiraq Law School Society, the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law, and Nunavut Arctic College.
The need for Inuit lawyers and for a new approach to legal education:
Throughout the North there is a growing need for Inuit Lawyers in all levels of public service, in industry and for the private practice of law. Identified as a major priority by the Government of Nunavut, legal education for Inuit would address the systemic barriers to Inuit employment, greatly improve the delivery and quality of services to the majority population, and meet the representative Inuit employment obligations as provided in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Indeed, key to the success of Nunavut is the training and education of its beneficiaries in all sectors of the professional job market.
Inuit students [were] able to earn a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Victoria through the academic program offered in Iqaluit, Nunavut using the facilities of Nunavut Arctic College. Courses [were] taught by University of Victoria faculty members and law professors from other Canadian universities with assistance from local members of the legal profession. Graduates of this program [have] exactly the same credentials to practice law as students graduating from southern law schools.
In September 2001, there was a one-time admission of a group of students who are progressing through the program together. The program took 4 years to complete on a full-time basis. There are currently no plans to admit students in later years.
The program [provided] a very high faculty-student ratio and substantial support to students through mentoring, tutoring and general skills development courses.
The graduation of law students from the Akitsiraq Law Program directly addresses commitments made to the Inuit people through the agreement on self-government between the Canadian and Nunavut governments. The agreement's conditions call for the territorial government to build self-governing capacity. The Akitsiraq law graduates greatly enhance the territory's ability to achieve this goal.
Although the first round of students has graduated. There are plans to re-open the program in 2010.