ALRI: In Collaborative Law Reform

Law reform is inherently a collaborative process. From start to finish, each ALRI project benefits from input by the profession and the public in suggesting reform topics to shaping final recommendations. As noted in our Annual Report 2017-2018, lawyers and judges volunteered more than 650 hours to share their knowledge and expertise to improve Alberta’s laws. Thank you!

ALRI also collaborates with other national and provincial law reform agencies. Since ALRI was founded in 1968, we have worked with the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. The work of the ULCC promotes uniformity of legislation among Canadian provinces and territories and updates to the Criminal Code. This year, ALRI will be looking at two uniform acts to determine whether they should be adopted in Alberta. The Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act proposes updates to the International Commercial Arbitration Act which Alberta adopted in 1986. The Uniform Public Appeals Act considers the range of implications that flow from raising funds for a worthy cause and whether such funds might be subject to trust principles.

ALRI was also a founding member agency of the Federation of Law Reform Agencies of Canada. The Federation or FOLRAC was formalised in 1990. Member agencies meet every two years for a symposium to share best practices and new ideas for the law reform process. ALRI is hosting the 14th FOLRAC Symposium in October. This year’s panel discussions will include diversity in decision-making, expanding consultation and the role of law reform agencies in responding to the TRC calls to action.

Finally, this year ALRI is also launching a collaborative initiative with the University of Alberta law school. ALRI is providing an internship program for second and third year law students. With guidance from Professors Roderick Wood and Tamara Buckwold, students will review the work of the Canadian Conference on Personal Property Security Law and how Alberta’s legislation should be updated. While personal property security legislation was once fairly consistent across Canada, the Alberta legislation has not been updated since the 1990s. Working with ALRI’s Executive Director, Sandra Petersson, students will also develop their own proposal for a law reform project and be encouraged to submit it to the appropriate agency for consideration.

Sandra Petersson is the Executive Director of the Alberta Law Reform Institute. She joined ALRI in 2002, having previously held the positions of Counsel and Research Manager. Prior to ALRI, Sandra clerked for the Supreme Court of Canada and worked as Executive Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice of Alberta.