In 2019-2020, Pro Bono Students Canada, UBC Chapter (“PBSC-UBC”) implemented the Honourable Donna J. Martinson Access to Justice Awards to recognize the invaluable contributions of its student volunteers and also its organizational partners and lawyer supervisors. There are three awards, which are collectively referred to as the Honourable Donna J. Martinson Awards:
- The Honourable Donna J. Martinson Access to Justice Student Award (“Student Award”);
- The Honourable Donna J. Martinson Access to Justice Award Organizational Award (“Organizational Award”); and
- The Honourable Donna J. Martinson Access to Justice Lawyer Supervisor Award (“Lawyer Supervisor Award”).
The Awards are named after the Honourable Donna J. Martinson, Q.C., LL.M., who has worked throughout her career to address discriminatory laws and practices against women and children that existed, historically, and which continue to exist, to ensure that visions of “equality for all” in our justice system include equality for women and children. The Honourable Donna J. Martinson has made invaluable contributions as a lawyer working as a Crown Prosecutor and in private practice, as a law teacher in Alberta and British Columbia (1973-1991), and as a judge with the British Columbia Provincial Court and then the British Columbia Supreme Court (1991-2009). She has continued advocating for equality and access to justice through her extensive post-judge volunteer work from July 2009 to the present: (1) as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, through the FREDA Centre on Research on Violence Against Women and Children; (2) at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, through the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies; (3) as an Executive member of the national Canadian Bar Association Child and Youth Law Section, where she Chaired its UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee; and, (4) as founding Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch, Children’s Law Section. PBSC-UBC is honoured to partner with the Honourable Donna J. Martinson in establishing an award that recognizes student contributions to increasing access to justice for marginalized groups.