Functioning courtroom opens at U of O law school
Attached classroom behind one-way glass allows students to watch proceedings live
A new, functioning courtroom opened Wednesday morning at the University of Ottawa, which allows students to watch some parts of civil cases from behind one-way glass.
The Ian G. Scott Courtroom is the first of its kind to operate at a Canadian university.
It's named after a prominent Ottawa lawyer who often took students to court with him. Scott was also a former attorney general of Ontario.
Justices from the Court of Appeal of Ontario officially opened the courtroom Wednesday.
It has a classroom attached where students can discuss and critique proceedings as they happen from behind "smart glass," which can go from normal glass to opaque with a switch.
Once the proceedings end, students have the opportunity to speak with the lawyers and judges about what happened.
The court will hear points of law and administrative hearings. Lawyers will have to consent to appear at the new courtroom instead of the courthouse on Elgin Street.
'It's more accessible'
"We want our students to become professional," said Natalie Des Rosiers, the university's dean of common law.
"They have to embrace not only the theory but also all the ethics that come from being a good advocate ... And sometimes you only learn by watching and by trying to emulate what's going on," she said.
The courtroom cost $700,000, paid for by the province as well as lawyers and judges.
Vinosha Thevarajah, a second-year law student, said she's excited to grill lawyers on technique.
"It's more accessible," she said.
"We get to learn and watch and ask questions about how we should deliver some of our arguments and, I guess, steal some ideas," she said.
"You kind of get to watch someone in the lion's den before entering it yourself, in some sense."