Justice George Patrick Smith has been named as the Lakehead University Bora Laskin Faculty of Law interim dean.
A resident of Thunder Bay, Smith is recognized for his judicial expertise and understanding of Canadian Indigenous and Aboriginal issues. He has longstanding connections and respect among local, provincial and national Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal legal communities. In addition, he is the author of important publications on Aboriginal and Indigenous Law in Canada for the judiciary and has decades of involvement in legal and judicial education on a variety of subjects.
“The success of our students is our priority,” said Dr. Barnett, Lakehead University acting provost and academic vice president. “The appointment of Justice Patrick Smith, whose judicial career includes significant experience in civil and criminal jury trials, family matters and many cases involving First Nations, allows us to continue our university’s commitment to the ongoing evolution and success of our Faculty of Law and its three core pillars.”
Lakehead University Bora Laskin Faculty of Law is a regional law school with a focus on Northern Ontario. It embraces three mandates in its curriculum: Indigenous law and access to justice, natural resources and environmental law, and sole/small-town practice.
“I was very honoured to be invited to step into this role on an interim basis,” said Smith, who was appointed to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in 2001. “My immediate focus will be to work with the faculty’s students, faculty and staff as we close the academic year and celebrate the graduates at our convocation ceremonies.”
Smith will officially begin his new role as of June 1 at Thunder Bay. His connection to Lakehead University dates more than 30 years, having been an instructor in family law for the political studies department from 1986-1998.
The search process for the faculty’s next dean, which will include extensive internal and external consultation, will begin shortly.