Thunder Bay

Lakehead University announces new law dean

Lakehead University has announced it has appointed a new dean to head its Faculty of Law and says she brings a wealth of experience working in the fields at the core of the law school, including Indigenous law.

Jula Hughes is a professor at the Faculty of Law of New Brunswick

Jula Hughes has been appointed the third full-time dean of the Lakehead University Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. (University of New Brunswick)

Lakehead University has announced it has appointed a new dean to head its Faculty of Law and says she brings a wealth of experience working in the fields at the core of the law school, including Indigenous law.

Jula Hughes will come to Lakehead from the University of New Brunswick, where she holds a two-year appointment as university research scholar and is the principal investigator on a project, which is a funded by Status of Women Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

It is "a capacity-building project by, with and for Indigenous communities and Aboriginal organizations that supports families and friends of missing persons," the university stated in a written release.

Hughes is the third full-time dean of the law school since it opened its doors in 2013. Founding dean Lee Stuesser resigned in 2015 and was succeeded by Angelique EagleWoman a year later. 

EagleWoman left her position amid controversy over allegations of systemic racism within the institution and subsequently sued the university.

The university said that, prior to her time at the University of New Brunswick, Hughes practiced labour and human rights law in Ottawa.

The Thunder Bay law school's three core pillars include Indigenous law, natural resources and environmental law and small town legal practice.

"Reconciliation with first peoples and access to justice are key challenges for our legal system, for the legal profession and for legal education in Canada," she was quoted as saying in the university's release announcing her appointment.

"I am excited to join the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law as dean and to lead and contribute to a faculty with a mandate to learn from Indigenous legal traditions and to promote equitable and honourable relationships between Indigenous peoples and settlers."

The university said that a search committee began work in 2018 to fill the vacant dean position and included representation from the law school as well as other faculties and governing bodies at Lakehead, in addition to Fort William First Nation, the Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty 3, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Métis Nation of Ontario.