Dean’s Message: Preparation for Contemporary Business Law
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Jeremy Webber Professor and Dean
Jeremy Webber, Dean of Law.
People do not generally think of UVic Law as a business-law or private-law school. Our reputation is most pronounced in public law. Indeed, our contributions to public law have been impressive and sustained. We can plausibly claim that we have exercised leadership in constitutional law, criminal law, equality law, Indig4
enous law, feminist legal theory, environmental law, law of the sea, immigration law, and other areas. However, this leading presence in public law can sometimes obscure our other contributions. These other contributions are very significant. Think, for example, of our prominence in the law of trusts, established by Donovan Waters, continued under the leadership of Mark Gillen, and recently bolstered by Kathy Chan’s recruitment to UVic. Think of our faculty’s role as authors or co-authors of leading textbooks on securities law, intellectual property, remedies, telecommunications law, and international investment arbitration. Martha O’Brien is one of Canada’s leading experts on international and comparative taxation law, especially in relation to the European Union. We have long led, alongside UBC, Canadian law’s engagement with Asian economies. And if you want to understand pension policy or the issues involved in Canada’s accession to an investment treaty, you cannot do better than to engage with Freya Kodar on the first or Andrew Newcombe on the second. Moreover, from the first years of this Faculty and still today, a focus on the regulatory state has been central to the self-image of UVic Law. It is disseminated throughout our courses on economic regulation, environmental law, administrative law, labour law, consumer law, corporate law, intellectual property, taxation, and many other areas. Nor are we sitting on our established strengths. We have recently hired new colleagues in corporate law, labour law, and international commercial law. Indeed, we are moving
to sharpen our focus on the regulatory state by developing an upper-level course to canvass and compare regulatory strategies in order to draw together general lessons from our particular strengths in specific areas. This focus on the regulatory state does double duty. It is not just about how to interact with the state in the interest of private parties (though it is about that too). It educates students in how to design effective structures to achieve public ends. It combines our traditional strength in public law with the needs of a contemporary business law practice, one that requires effective interaction with public agencies, the capacity to integrate policy concerns with legal argument, and the ability to marshal information from multiple disciplines. Any first-rate law school, any law school that prepares its students for the practices of today, has to foster those skills and has to expose its students to a wide range of areas of the law, so that its students can find their own paths in the law and excel within them. UVic Law does that. As the stories in this issue of Vistas make clear, it has long provided exemplary preparation for a career in business law as it has done in public law, Indigenous law, and a host of other areas. This issue is about that often neglected aspect of UVic Law.