The mission of the Office of the University Counsel is to:
- apply sound judgment, thoughtful analysis, and constructive advice to help identify and manage legal risk;
- provide legal advice and services that are timely, pragmatic, and proactive; and
- work with academic and administrative units to streamline legal processes, wherever appropriate.
Recognizing that the work of the Office of the University Counsel reflects on the Office professionally and on UBC as an institution, the Office adheres to the following values:
- independent judgment;
- respect for people;
- upholding the public trust and the rule of law;
- commitment to the mission of the University; and
- professional excellence.
Role of Counsel
UBC carries out its objectives through its academic and operational units. These units come to our office for legal advice and services to support the various structures, transactions, and documents that they are considering. Our role is to identify any material legal risks and advise on ways to manage them in a manner that is consistent with the law and with UBC’s mission and strategic priorities. Academic and operational units are responsible for assessing the business risks and operational viability as they are responsible for implementing the proposed actions. Where we identify legal risks, the unit, with the involvement of the Dean or Vice-President where appropriate, is responsible for considering our advice and determining whether those risks are acceptable in light of the UBC’s strategic objectives and overall business/operational risk. Units may decide to undertake a course of action notwithstanding our legal advice for a variety of legitimate reasons.
The Office of the University Counsel is responsible for all the legal affairs of UBC, with the exception of labour and employment matters. The Office:
- advises on UBC governance;
- advises on the legal ramifications of proposed actions and, when necessary, suggests alternative solutions or corrective courses of action;
- provides strong and responsible advocacy before courts, administrative agencies, or other public bodies;
- provides strategic legal advice and a full range of legal services directly to the University, its senior administration, the Board of Governors, the Senates, and the Council of Senates;
- provides legal advice and services directly to academic and administrative units when requested by the deans or administrative heads of unit;
- recommends practices and procedures to protect UBC from undue liability;
- determines the legal structure of UBC’s subsidiaries;
- oversees the development and review of Board of Governors’ policies and delegated signing authorities;
- is responsible for UBC’s compliance with British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
- regulates and manages UBC’s conduct systems and internal administrative tribunals;
- administers UBC’s conflict of interest systems;
- provides seminars and other education-oriented initiatives on legal issues affecting UBC;
- participates in special initiatives and sensitive projects on an as-needed basis;
- brings the appropriate resources to bear in the delivery of legal services and the resolution of legal disputes and, where necessary, retains, instructs and oversees external legal counsel on behalf of the University; and
- manages the costs of legal services in an effective and cost efficient manner in order to maximize the value of UBC’s expenditures.
About this Web Site
This web site is maintained by the Office of the University Counsel. Although the information on this web site is updated regularly, no guarantees can be made about its accuracy or timeliness. This web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. UBC administrators requiring legal advice should contact the Office of the University Counsel. Contact information is available here. To review the full disclaimer for this web site, please click on the “Copyright and Disclaimer” link at the bottom of this page.