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Justice Building to be new home of UNB law

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jun 30, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton

On June 28, the University of New Brunswick, in collaboration with the Government of Canada and the Government of New Brunswick, announced plans to revitalize the Fredericton Justice Building and make it the new home of UNB’s faculty of law.

“The renewal of the Justice Building is a win-win for everyone,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “We found a new purpose for the [building] while giving UNB an incredible space for the next generation of New Brunswick leaders.”

The provincial and federal governments are making a record public investment in a Canadian law school. At the packed announcement at UNB’s Wu Conference Centre, Ottawa pledged $24.9 million to the project; the province will contribute $20.7 million. Combined with UNB’s $16.6 million contribution, the total projected investment will be $62 million.

For this, Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, UNB’s president and vice-chancellor, thanked government partners.

“Your confidence in us and your financial commitment to UNB Law will help us create positive change for people here in Fredericton, New Brunswick and beyond,” said Mazerolle.

“We work to support economic growth and social development and we want to serve as a trusted voice in the major discussions and debates across our communities. But ultimately, we work to deliver what I call a social dividend to the community, to return real value based on the public investments that we receive from our government and our stakeholders and our supporters.”

The Justice Building, located at 427 Queen Street in Fredericton’s downtown core, will be the fifth home of UNB law. It is expected to open in 2028, following the opening of the new justice building in 2025.

Originally constructed in 1876, the Justice Building served as a normal school for teaching training. After the building burned down in 1929, architects preserved its column-front entrance, and the school was rebuilt in 1931. It was used as an educational centre before becoming a courthouse in the 1970s.

While honouring its heritage, the Fredericton Justice Building restoration will also incorporate modern features and sustainable practices. Jenica Atwin, the member of parliament (MP) for Fredericton, said the renewal of the building will reduce emissions by approximately 30 per cent.

“UNB students will benefit from the modernized educational facilities that will support their training and set them up for success,” she said. “This will truly be transformational in our community.”

Providing 30,000 additional square feet of space for programming and growth, the building will become the permanent home for the UNB Legal Clinic. The expanded location will include a legal observatory tribunal room and house the largest law library in the province downtown, making it accessible to the public. This move will also allow the faculty to develop an innovative graduate law program.

“Students will get to experience learning and working in such an iconic space where decisions [were made] that had a long-lasting impact on our society.”

Michael Marin, the dean of the law school, said the faculty will establish a ground-breaking legal observatory — a fusion of a tribunal room and a classroom. The observatory will become a facility where administrative proceedings will take place, benefitting the community. And he said the Gérard V. La Forest Law Library, a cornerstone of legal scholarship, will find its home in a state-of-the-art facility.

“Students and professors will be interacting every day with the everyday people they serve,” said Dominic LeBlanc, the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities. “There will be all kinds of informal learning that is just as important as anything taught in a classroom.”

Dominic LeBlanc, the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities, said the move will be an economic and social driver for the city of Fredericton and the Province of New Brunswick.

“It also brings a great law faculty and a great university much closer to the community that it has served so well for so many decades,” LeBlanc said.

Photo from left to right: Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB; Ted Flemming, attorney general and minister of justice; Chief Justice Marc Richard; Dominic LeBlanc, the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities; Blaine Higgs, premier of New Brunswick; Jill Green, minister of social development and minister responsible for the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation and minister responsible for the New Brunswick Housing Corporation; Jenica Atwin, member of parliament for Fredericton; Michael Marin, dean of UNB’s faculty of law; and Kate Rogers, mayor of Fredericton.