16 November 2016 - 9:00am to 16 November 2016 - 4:30pm

The University of British Columbia, Room C400, UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street | Vancouver BC | V6Z 3B7 Canada


Since the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,courts have become a focal point for policy change in Canada. Faced with litigation and court rulings, governments have been forced to develop or amend policy in such areas as safe injection sites, sex work, medical marijuana, assisted dying, and abortion provision. Increasingly, such landmark cases include extensive social science evidentiary records. The purpose of this one-day workshop is to better understand the key role that social science plays in litigation strategies and judicial decision-making, and to examine best practices for effectively developing and using social science evidence for litigation-driven policy change.

Target Audience and Learning Objectives

This workshop is targeted at lawyers and non-lawyers who use litigation as a policy change strategy and wish to better understand how to effectively use social science evidence in this process. It is also targeted at social scientists who want to conduct and present research for use in court cases.

Call for presenters

See the call for papers

Working Agenda (Draft)


8:30 a.m.



9:00 a.m.


Welcome and opening keynote

9:30 a.m.


Keynote dialogue

10:00 a.m.


Appellate court perspectives

1:15 p.m.


Case study 1 - The Insite/Bedford/Carter trilogy

3:00 p.m.


Case study 2 - The segregation case

4:30 p.m.




Lisa Kerr

She is rethinking current approaches to incarceration and justice, focusing on the quality of a prison sentence rather than on the length of time served.

2012 Scholars

Benjamin Perryman

Benjamin Perryman (law, Yale University) is applying the emerging science of happiness to ways that Canadian justice might better reflect the needs and aspirations of all citizens, including the marginalized.

2015 Scholars