Instructor(s): Pamela Zbarsky
Wrongful Convictions; Externship Seminar

Note: 2 credits (ungraded) per term

Max Enrol: 4 JD

See details on how to register below.

Note: Students enrolled in year-long externships must participate in the fall term Externship Seminar.

Prerequisites: One of either Criminal Procedure or Evidence Law.

The Innocence Canada externships allow students to experience directly the legal work of a non-profit organization working to overturn the criminal convictions of innocent people. This program is available for up to four students. Students will be exposed to a variety of legal work in the area of criminal law carried out by Innocence Canada such as reviewing police investigatory files, trial transcripts and appeals motions and assisting with research.

Students participating in the Innocence Canada externship will have an opportunity to develop their legal skills in a highly specialized criminal law setting. Students will develop an understanding of wrongful convictions and criminal law more broadly, by working directly with experienced lawyers on active case files.

While assignments will necessarily vary from term to term, and from student to student, students enrolled in this externship can expect to be exposed to the following fundamental skills:

1. problem solving,
2. legal analysis and reasoning,
3. legal research,
4. factual investigation,
5. communication,
6. investigative work,
7. organization and management of legal work,
8. recognizing causes of wrongful conviction in practice, and
9. identifying and exploring new avenues of new and significant information and evidence.

Students will participate in bi-weekly one-hour meetings set at an agreeable time to the schedules of enrolled students and the instructors. The first of these meetings will consist of an introduction to Innocence Canada, wrongful convictions work and our priority cases. The following weeks will be an opportunity to engage in brief presentations and discussion about the progress of student's work and cases.  Ongoing mentorship and training will also be provided by staff lawyers providing instruction and feedback on individual assignments.

All students will be required to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement at the first meeting.

Students will be assigned work to do on their own time. Students will prepare legal memoranda based on their own research on current issues. There may be an opportunity to participate in the writing of a s. 696.1 application to the Minister of Justice. Students will participate in file preparation, investigatory work and fact finding.

If you are interested in working in this Externship, send an email to Sara Faherty at before the deadline for course selection submissions. We will select four students with at least one of each of the three pre-requisites.

Satisfactory attendance, written work, and performance will earn two ungraded credits each term.
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Both Terms



4 JD