Sarah Pike, LL.M. Student
Sarah Pike, who joined the LL.M. program in 2016, has embarked on a study of the work and influence of one of the first B.C. Indian Reserve Commissioners, Gilbert Malcolm Sproat (1834-1913). Her work is supported by the Law Society of British Columbia Scholarship for Graduate Legal Studies (2016) and by the Allard School of Law History Project LLM Scholarship (2016).
British Columbia is unusual among Canadian provinces for the virtual absence of treaties between Indigenous peoples and the Crown. Instead of negotiating treaties, successive governments allotted Indian reserves in order to recognize Indigenous interests in land. In 1876, the Provincial and Federal governments established the Joint Indian Reserve Commission in British Columbia to attempt to fulfill constitutional obligations and to address what was then called the “B.C. Indian Land Question” by continuing the reserve-allotment process.
The two governments appointed Sproat in 1876 as their joint appointee to the three-person Commission; he continued as the sole Commissioner in 1878 when the Commission was reduced to limit its cost. Pike’s preliminary work suggests both that Sproat was integral to the first iterations of the Commission and that (compared to the settler society and its governments) he was uncharacteristically concerned about the interests and needs of Indigenous people. Pike’s LL.M. thesis will analyze the extensive archival record to investigate this theme, and to situate Sproat and his work in the broader context in which he lived and worked.
There is no biography or sustained analysis of Sproat’s work and ideas. Pike anticipates that a thorough study of this Crown representative in his legal, political and cultural context will enable a better understanding of his decisions and of the manner in which British Columbia’s Indian reserve geography appeared as an integral part of the legal landscape.
Further Reading for You
In her current undertaking in the research-based LLM at the University of British Columbia, inspired by her research work with Saskia Hufnagel on Women in International Policing, predominantly in the European context, Maira Hassan aspires now to dive into the Canadian perspective of women in peacekeeping under the supervision of Professor Benjamin Perrin.
Magda’s research was inspired to some extent by her reflections on how her own legal education has shaped her career path, professional identity and practices. After law school, she articled and practiced labour and employment law for five years in Vancouver before deciding to leave practice in pursuit of an academic career. Her choice to chart a new career path took much deliberation about what impact she wanted to make through her work.
Lachlin’s doctoral dissertation uses multi-level qualitative and quantitative analysis to attempt to determine if, after an insurer pays out a damage award, they make the wrongdoer ‘pay’ for their negligence in some fashion. This would include tactics such as the insurer refusing to pay for future claims arising from similar negligence, increasing the amount that the insurer charges for coverage, or requiring training to avoid that particular kind of negligence.