Webinar: A Conversation about Access to Justice and Systemic Racism

Date: October 27, 2020

Location: Online

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments, non-profit organizations and other justice sector stakeholders in Canada to innovate. As their focus shifts from short term survival to rebuilding for a post-COVID world, how can they best contribute to creating a more just society?

Trevor Farrow has carried out ground-breaking research on the costs that society incurs when Canadians cannot access justice. Joshua Sealy-Harrington’s research and practice explores how the justice system systemically marginalizes racialized Canadians. Hear them together in conversation with the University of Alberta Faculty of Law’s new dean, Barbara Billingsley, as they discuss what access to justice means, how best to promote it in a post-COVID world, and what role law schools can play in creating a more just society.


Trevor C.W. Farrow, AB (Princeton, politics), BA/MA (Oxford, jurisprudence), LLB (Dalhousie), LLM (Harvard), PhD (Alberta, politics), is a Professor and former Associate Dean at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is the Chair of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice and was the founding Academic Director of the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Director of the York Centre for Public Policy and Law. Professor Farrow’s teaching and research focus on the administration of civil justice, including access to justice, legal process, legal and judicial ethics, advocacy and globalization. His scholarship is published widely in Canada and around the world. He has led and collaborated on numerous major research projects, including a $1 million SSHRC grant – the “Costs of Justice” – for which he was the Principal Investigator. Professor Farrow was formerly a litigation lawyer at the Torys law firm in Toronto and has received teaching awards from Harvard University and Osgoode Hall Law School.

Joshua Sealy-Harrington is a doctoral candidate at Columbia Law School, lawyer at Power Law, and former law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada (for Justice Clément Gascon) and at the Federal Court (for Justice Donald J. Rennie, now of the Federal Court of Appeal). His research interrogates the complex relationships amongst law, identity, and sexuality, while his practice explores the intersection of these relationships with public, constitutional, and criminal law. In practice, Joshua has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. His writing has been published in various law journals, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and Newsweek, and has been cited in several textbooks, as well as in judgments of the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court of Canada.


Barbara Billingsley became dean of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and Wilbur Fee Bowker Professor of Law on July 1, 2020. She is the Faculty of Law’s 13th dean and the first woman to be appointed to the position in the Faculty’s history. She is a proud alumna of UAlberta, who earned her LLB and LLM here in 1990 and 1995, respectively, and her BA in political science in 1987. Before joining the Faculty, Dean Billingsley practised civil litigation in Edmonton, primarily in the area of insurance defence. She has been a full-time faculty member since 2001, after joining as a sessional in 1996. Her areas of research and teaching include insurance law, civil litigation processes and constitutional law issues pertaining to private law matters.