College of Law and CLASSIC honoured with international award

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law and CLASSIC (Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc), have recently been named co-recipients of the 2019 Sir David Watson Award for Community University Partnerships.

CLASSIC was founded in 2007 by three law students at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and is the only community legal clinic in the province. The clinic serves more than 1,100 individuals per year—with a commitment to Indigenous people—through three key programs: a walk-in advocacy clinic, legal advice clinic and special projects that address systemic issues.  

The Sir David Watson Award, created in memory of the former University of Brighton vice-chancellor, recognizes the combined efforts of community and university partners towards making a difference to the shared lives of people in their shared community.

The award will be presented to representatives from USask at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) annual conference this December in Bristol, United Kingdom.

“CLASSIC has been an integral part of the student experience, and our community, for more than a decade,” said Martin Phillipson, dean of law. “We are extremely proud of our partnership and the work that has been done, and are thrilled to be recognized with this prestigious award.”

Law students from the College of Law assist low-income clients with legal matters under the direct supervision of lawyers staffed at CLASSIC. Students represent clients in a wide range of legal matters including criminal law, housing law, prison law, immigration and refugee law, human rights law and more.

As part of CLASSIC’s special projects, law students undertake research—often in partnership with other community organizations—on topics aimed at addressing systemic barriers to justice.

“Our international advisory board was delighted to give this award to the CLASSIC project at the University of Saskatchewan,” said David Wolff, director of the University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership Programme and convenor of the award.

“CLASSIC is very well established and has provided substantial benefits to disadvantaged communities whilst enriching the academic life of the university. This kind of mutual benefit was a key principle for David Watson in successful community university partnerships and the University of Saskatchewan is to be heartily congratulated for its work.”