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In 2020, with the support of the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada, PBSC launched the Chief Justice Richard Wagner Awards to recognize our outstanding student volunteers across the country. The awards recognize one volunteer* from each participating law school Chapter who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and commitment to PBSC’s mission of providing free legal support to people and communities facing barriers to justice.

The primary goal of this prestigious award program is to celebrate and recognize PBSC’s outstanding Student Volunteers, who exemplify:

  • commitment and initiative;

  • positive impact on the Partner Organization, community, clients, and/or access to justice;

  • leadership in supporting their Chapter, peers, and/or fellow student volunteers; and,

  • upholding a high standard of ethics, integrity, and professionalism.


To be eligible for nomination for the Award, candidates must meet all of the following criteria:


  • Be a law student currently enrolled in the law school at which the CJRW Award is being issued. Note that Student Volunteers cannot be nominated for the CJRW Award at another Chapter where the Award is also issued (ex. A Student Volunteer enrolled at the University of Victoria cannot be nominated for the Award at the University of British Columbia, and vice versa)

  • Be currently involved with PBSC in any one or more of the following categories for the academic year in which the nomination is being made:

    • currently volunteering on a PBSC project;

    • a volunteer member of a PBSC Chapter Executive Committee, where such committee exists; and/or,

    • a volunteer Project Lead on a project.

* Note: although awards are intended for one (1) recipient at each Chapter, in limited circumstances nominators may wish to make a nomination on a project where there are multiple student volunteers whose work is indistinguishable (ex. certain legal research projects where multiple Student Volunteers contribute to and produce only one deliverable).



To be eligible to nominate a candidate for the Award, nominators must meet any one of the following criteria:

  • a representative from a Partner Organization that is currently partnered with the PBSC Chapter at which the nomination is being made;

  • a current Lawyer Supervisor;

  • a staff and/or faculty member responsible for oversight of a PBSC Student Volunteer;

  • a current Program Coordinator; and/or,

  • a PBSC Student Volunteer enrolled at the law faculty at which the nomination is being made.


Note that self-nominations are not permitted.


It is a privilege to practice law in Canada. It is a public service. It comes with a social responsibility to take action for justice, especially through pro bono work serving marginalized people who face barriers to accessing justice. Doing so is key to public trust.
Dedicating one’s time and energy to serving underprivileged clients for free is not just a way to gain legal experience, fill out a resume, or build one’s reputation in the profession. It is an integral part of what it means to be a lawyer in Canada in 2020.

- The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, making remarks at PBSC's inaugural awards ceremony (March 2020)

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