FAQ


Click on each question to see the answer!

Who are we?

The ELC is a non-profit society that operates Canada’s largest clinical public interest environmental law program in partnership with the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. Providing assistance to community groups, conservation organizations and First Nations across the province, the ELC produces legal research, education materials and citizen handbooks; advocates on a range of environmental law reform issues; and represents clients before legislative committees, tribunals, and the courts.

The ELC’s core staff are Calvin Sandborn, Legal Director; Deborah Curran, Acting Executive Director; Chris Tollefson, staff lawyer; Anthony Ho, staff lawyer;  and Paralegal Administrator Holly Pattison.

The ELC’s Board of Directors is comprised of diverse and experienced members, including law students, lawyers, law professors, and members of the community. The Board supervises and directs the Society’s activities and is led by an elected student executive. All branches work collectively to create a collaborative and productive environment. For more information about our staff and Board members, please see our People page.

What services do we provide?

Services of the Clinic are provided by law students enrolled in the ELC Clinic program. Operating under the supervision of a senior environmental lawyer, our students provide pro bono legal representation and legal assistance to community/conservation groups and First Nations; produce citizen handbooks and other public legal education materials; and advocate on a wide range of environmental law reform issues.

What are our fees for clients of the Clinic?

The ELC does not charge fees for work done for Clinic clients. In some cases, we will charge for disbursements, but that is always discussed in advanced. The Society will occasionally take on contract work upon the recommendation of ELC staff and with the approval of the ELCS Board.

How can you apply to become a Clinic client?

The ELC typically reviews project proposals three times a year: September, January and May. Potential Clinic projects should aim to correspond with the following criteria:

  • represent a public interest environmental law matter in agreement with the goals of the ELC’s vision and objectives (see below);
  • include a significant educational component to the project, which may be in the area of advocacy, legal research and writing;
  • be financially feasible and should not expose the ELC to financial or other risks;
  • the potential to make significant contribution to environmental protection or to the development of environmental law;
  • provide a service to a client who would otherwise be unable to obtain the service (e.g. unable to pay for their own lawyer) and should not be undertaken merely as a support service for a lawyer or professional who is being remunerated at fair market rates for the services they are providing.

If you feel we might be able to help with an environmental issue, please read our Description of Services document for further details on how to apply for our services.

What’s the difference between the Centre the Clinic and the Club?

We get asked that a lot. In a nutshell, the Clinic is the class offered through UVic Law; the Centre is the Society, who guides our operations and approves all our projects; and the Club is an official (and fabulous!) student club within UVic’s Faculty of Law that organizes activities and hosts public lectures, debates and workshops on environmental issues.

How can I become a Clinic student?

How can I become an ELC volunteer?

There are several ways to volunteer with the ELC. You can join the Club listserv and participate in activities sponsored by the Club. You can contact us if you have a skill set that you think may be particularly useful to us. Or you can drop us a line to say you’re available if we need help.

How can I best support the ELC?

We appreciate that you want to support our work! You can subscribe to our e-newsletters, like us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed. You can donate time or you can make a tax-deductible donation through the University of Victoria.

What is the Organizational Structure of the ELCS?

ELC Organization Chart 2013

Organization Chart prepared for the UVic Law Alumni magazine Vistas (Winter 2013)

The chart above will give you an idea about how the ELCS is structured, although there have been some changes since it was developed in 2013. Below is a listing of the different ELCS ‘components’ which will give you a better idea of how we are all connected (new org chart to follow!)

ELCS Members:

Students of the University of Victoria who have agreed to be members and provide address

ELCS Board of Directors:

ELCS Executive

Other Directors (faculty, alumni, lawyers & representatives of environmental, First Nations and community organizations)

ELCS Staff

Executive Director

Legal Director (supervises Clinic)

Staff Lawyer(s)

Paralegal Program Administrator

 

Environmental Law Club

ELCS Executive

ELCS members (law students)

ELC Clinic

ELC Regular Clinic (every semester)

ELC Intensive Clinic (autumn and spring only)

ELC Associates

Cohort of 10-12 lawyers practicing public interest environmental law who share knowledge and collaborate on key environmental and resource development issues throughout the province through bi-monthly teleconferences and a bi-annual CLE-style conference

ELC Advisory Council

The ELC Advisory Council (ELCAC) is designed to provide strategic guidance and a thoughtful sounding board for the Environmental Law Centre Society (ELCS) as it develops and undertakes cases. Members of the ELCAC assist in advancing the goals and mission of ELCS, and may serve, as agreed upon, through events, public speaking, professional work, and outreach to contact networks.

ELC Honourary Board

The ELCS Board may, from time-to-time, designate a person as an Honourary Board Member. This title is honourific only, the intention being to give recognition to longstanding community Board Members and/or high profile individuals whose work furthers the mission of the ELCS.