Joint Degree Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders (JD/JID)

Field school student learning the skill of spear-making at Ye’yumnuts in Duncan.
Field school student learning the skill of spear-making at Ye’yumnuts in Duncan

Our joint degree program in Canadian Common Law (JD) and Indigenous Legal Orders (JID) is the first program of its kind in the world. In the JD/JID program, you’ll develop the skills you need to practice with Indigenous legal orders, within Canadian common law and at the interface between them.

You’ll graduate this four-year program with two professional degrees: a Juris Doctor (JD) and a Juris Indigenarum Doctor (JID). You'll be well-positioned to practice law at a local, national and international level.

The land is your classroom

In your first and second year, you'll examine constitutional, criminal, and property law, as well as contracts and torts through a transsystemic lens—comparing common law with one or more Indigenous legal traditions.

You'll spend a full term in each of your third and fourth years immersed in community-led field schools. Under close academic supervision, you'll observe the ways in which Indigenous legal processes are being applied today, and work with the community on law-related projects.

Additional upper year courses will examine the legal traditions and language of the Coast Salish region, legal ethics, and transsystemic study of administrative law and business associations.

Learn more about the program structure and courses.

Why JD/JID?

The JD/JID is a four-year program combining classroom learning with field studies conducted in collaboration with Indigenous communities. You’ll graduate with two professional degrees—the full content of UVic’s common law degree combined with the skills you need to work productively with Indigenous legal orders.

You’ll study Canadian law, Indigenous legal traditions, governance, environment and a range of other areas. You’ll also attend field schools where you’ll learn from community experts and work with the community on law-related projects. Through these, you will explore the diversity of Indigenous legal traditions and observe first-hand the ways Indigenous legal processes are being used today.

The JD/JID program builds upon our longstanding commitment to and international reputation in Indigenous law and Indigenous legal education. It is made possible by our treasured relationships with:

  • the Songhees and Esquimalt peoples, on whose lands the University of Victoria is located
  • the W̱SÁNEĆ people, who have longstanding connections to this land
  • Indigenous peoples from coast to coast to coast and around the world
The JID/JD blends land-based learning, with stories, language, common law case-analysis and statutory interpretation over a 4 year period.

Indigenous legal knowledge

Our teaching faculty represent some of Canada’s foremost Indigenous legal experts, including:

  • Dr. John Borrows (Anishinaabe, Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation), Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law
  • Dr. Val Napoleon (Saulteau First Nation), Law Foundation Chair of Indigenous Justice and Governance
  • Dr. Alan Hanna (Blackfoot, French, and Scottish ancestry), Assistant Professor
  • Tracey Lindberg (As'in'i'wa'chi Ni'yaw Nation/Kelly Lake Cree Nation), Professor
  • Dr. David Milward (Cree, Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation), Associate Professor
  • Dr. Sarah Morales (Coast Salish, Cowichan Tribes), Associate Professor
  • Janna Promislow, Associate Professor
  • Ruth Young (Cree Nation of Wemindji), Director of Indigenous Initiatives

Career opportunities

There is a rapidly growing need for legal professionals with Indigenous legal knowledge. As a graduate of this program, you’ll be in great demand in many fields, including:

  • Indigenous governance
  • non-Indigenous government agencies
  • law firms that work with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous lands
  • business enterprises

UVic Law has a careers office that facilitates student placements in law firms, government and public interest organizations. They can also provide resources and one-on-one counselling to you as you begin your legal careers.

Support for students

You'll have access to many different supports for Indigenous students, including peer support groups, professional associations, and scholarship and bursary programs.

National Centre for Indigenous Laws

A new, high-tech National Centre for Indigenous Laws is expected to open in 2023. This addition to the law building will include public lecture theatres, faculty and staff offices, classrooms, meeting space, an Elders’ room and spaces for gathering, ceremony and sharing of histories and knowledge.

How to apply

Online applications open September 1 and close on January 15 each year. Review our admission requirements for more information.

Need help?

Email the admissions office

Our admissions team is available to answer your application and program questions.