The Centre has been developed by UVic Law professors Jerry McHale, QC, Michelle Lawrence, Michael Litchfield and PhD candidate Kathryn Thomson.

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M JERRY MCHALE, QC

Commencing July 1, 2011, Jerry was jointly appointed to the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Administration as the Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy.

For 10 years prior to this appointment, Jerry was the Assistant Deputy Minister with the Justice Services Branch of the BC Ministry of Justice responsible for civil, family and criminal law policy and legislation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution, legal aid, and family law programs. Jerry received the Canadian Bar Association (National) John Tait Award for Excellence in Public Sector Law in 2000, a Queen's Council designation in 2001, the Canadian Bar Association (B.C.) Georges A. Goyer QC Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in 2009, the Victoria Bar Association's Contribution to the Law Award in 2009 and the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation in 2014.

In addition to holding other government positions, including Director of the Dispute Resolution Office, Jerry has worked in the private sector as a litigator and mediator. Jerry has spoken at more than 175 conferences, professional gatherings and educational programs since 1986 on topics related to his areas of interest: mediation and dispute resolution, access to justice and justice reform, child welfare and family law, procedural law, policy development and the legislative process.

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MICHELLE LAWRENCE

Michelle's current teaching and research focus is on criminal law, sentencing and the law of evidence. Michelle engages in issues at the intersection of the criminal justice, mental health, and family law systems, as well as the development of empirical measures for use in adjudicative proceedings and in aid of law reform.

Michelle previously practiced law as a partner in the Litigation Department of McCarthy Tétrault LLP. Her practice comprised of a diverse range of matters, including complex regulatory proceedings, corporate malfeasance, and criminal litigation.

Michelle holds graduate degrees in law and criminology, including an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge (Pegasus Scholar) and a Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University (Trudeau Scholar).

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CAROL LIAO

Carol is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law. Her areas of expertise include business law, contract law, law and economics, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development law and policy, and social innovation. In the field of access to justice, her research focuses on the development and potential effectiveness of alternative legal and business structures within the legal services sector. She is particularly interested in issues relating to entity regulation, hybrid corporations, market liberalization, cross-subsidization models, multidisciplinary practices, and non-lawyer service providers.

Carol previously practiced as a senior associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York. She holds B.A. (Honours) from Queen's University (Dean's Honour Roll), LL.B. and LL.M. from the University of British Columbia (Wesbrook Scholar), and a Ph.D./S.J.D from the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto (Liu Scholar; SSHRC Doctoral Fellow). Read her full bio here

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MICHAEL LITCHFIELD

Michael Litchfield is the Director of the Business Law Clinic at the University of Victoria and is the Managing Director of Thinklab Consulting. Michael teaches various corporate and commercial law subjects at UVic while his professional practice is focused on the delivery of project and human resource management consulting services to a wide range of sectors.

Michael has a long history of involvement with access to justice initiatives in British Columbia including time spent as the Project Manager for the Public Commission on Legal Aid and the Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative. Michael has served on various boards and committees in the non profit sector including the Habitat for Humanity Society of Greater Vancouver and the Red Door Housing Society. Michael is currently a board member of the Property Assessment Appeal Tribunal and the Civil Resolution Tribunal.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Laws from the University of Victoria.

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Kathryn E. Thomson

Kathryn, a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law, is studying the modernization of the justice system through the use of technology and the impact of this shift on access to justice, most particularly for self-represented litigants and others who are unable to participate due to access barriers.

Kathryn has been a practicing lawyer in British Columbia for 27 years and maintains a part-time practice located out of Victoria. Since 2001, she has specialized in legal technology and electronic justice issues working with the provincial government and judiciary.

Prior to this work, Kathryn worked and volunteered for non-government agencies on law reform and legal education (Law Foundation of British Columbia, West Coast LEAF), and practiced law in Vancouver with Shrum, Liddle and Hebenton (McCarthy Tétrault).

Kathryn’s research (supervised by Jerry McHale, Q.C., Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Victoria) will support the development of models and principles for introducing technology into dispute resolution processes in ways that enhance access to justice.