The Ring

Distinguished lawyer and senior public servant named Lam Chair

Tue, 2011-05-03 14:09

McHale
McHale. Photo: Anne McHale

For as long as individuals and organizations have had disagreements with one another, they have tried to find just and cost-effective ways to resolve those issues. Although many cases end up before the courts, other innovative techniques exist to deal with profound differences of opinion. Public administrators and members of the legal profession are more frequently turning to a range of dispute resolution methods, including mediation, as effective procedures for resolving conflicts.

University of Victoria students will soon be able to draw on the experiences of another leader in this important area. M. Jerry McHale, Q.C. is a nationally recognized expert in collaborative dispute resolution and has been appointed the Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy. He will join the Faculty of Human and Social Development and the Faculty of Law for a two-year term starting on July 1. His extensive knowledge will benefit those studying and researching in this growing field, particularly students enroled in the Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution (MADR) program in the School of Public Administration and the Juris Doctor program in the Faculty of Law.
 
McHale is currently assistant deputy minister in the Justice Services Branch of the BC Ministry of Attorney General. During his many years of service with the Attorney General, McHale has made exceptional contributions to justice reform. He was the BC representative during the development of the dispute resolution chapter of the Nisga’a Final Agreement and led the way on the use of mediation in motor vehicle, commercial, family and child protection disputes.
 
“We are pleased to announce this joint appointment,” says Mary Ellen Purkis, dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Development. “Mr. McHale’s experience as a practitioner and policy expert will be a valued addition to our program and the broader social justice interests within our faculty.”
 
Students in the MADR program draw on a combination of interdisciplinary courses and co-operative education opportunities as they develop skills to address conflicts and disputes in the context of public policy development and governance.
 
The field of collaborative dispute resolution has grown substantially over the past 15 years. Dispute resolution principles and processes play a rapidly expanding role in the management of a variety of conflicts, ranging from commercial and family law and personal injury matters through to public policy disputes and disputes between governments.
 
“Mr. McHale’s skills and knowledge are exceptionally well-suited for this interdisciplinary chair and its focus on justice policy and research,” says Donna Greschner, dean of the Faculty of Law. “Our students will greatly benefit from his instruction in this increasingly important area of legal practice.”
 
“I look forward to bringing what I have learned about dispute resolution and public policy into the classroom and exploring many of the exciting opportunities that exist for research,” says McHale. “I am particularly interested in the practical application of conflict management theories in the justice system, in government and in other large public institutions.”