Wrongful Conviction Clinical Program

Students enrolled in the Wrongful Conviction Clinical Program have literally changed lives in the pursuit of justice for the wrongfully convicted. Under the supervision of the director, students enrolled in the Wrongful Conviction Clinical Program examine cases of suspected wrongful conviction and, where feasible, reinvestigate and seek proof of their innocence.

The conviction of the innocent offends justice in many ways, and ultimately weakens public faith in the criminal legal system. However, relatively little ongoing attention has been paid to the systemic and institutional problems related to wrongful convictions in Canada. The Wrongful Conviction Clinical Program is designed to engage students in the important, difficult, and highly rewarding work of remedying wrongful convictions, while providing them with an opportunity to grapple with theoretical and practical questions about causes and remedies

What you will do

Work at the Wrongful Conviction Clinical Program includes file reviews, in which students review trial transcripts and disclosure from the files of individuals with a claim of wrongful conviction, in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case. It may also include test-case litigation and advocacy on policy matters relating to wrongful convictions.

What you will learn

  • The causes of wrongful convictions
  • Wrongful conviction risk factors
  • Current Canadian practices and procedures for addressing miscarriages of justice
  • Advocacy skills
  • Ability to analyse and question forensics and other experts
  • The systemic factors within the criminal legal system that contribute to wrongful convictions
  • Critical thinking about the criminal legal system and how to address problems with fact-finding within the trial process
  • Experience in the hands-on work of investigating and litigating claims of wrongful conviction
  • How to conduct file reviews and identify potential avenues of reinvestigation

Program Director

Director, Lisa Johnson