Access to justice on the airwaves

February 28, 2017

An exciting new PBSC project to come out of UBC this year is the Common Law Radio project. The show was cofounded by lawyer supervisor Joshua Prowse when he was an articling student eager to speak with top advocates. According to Prowse, “Having a radio show opened doors: there was a real untapped market for radio shows about legal issues. The PBSC students have the freedom to think of a legal topic they are interested in and speak with some of the brightest legal minds in Canada about that topic.”


Students Joshua Sved and Julia Riddle are each responsible for one radio show per month, and have had the chance to conceptualize, research and interview guests on a variety of timely topics. So far, they have run shows on gender inequality, poverty law, Indigenous law and prisoners’ rights, prostitution law and sex workers’ rights, among other issues. For Sved, volunteering on the show has informed his understanding of access to justice:


“The experience has been incredibly eye opening and has impressed upon me the importance of promoting access to justice, and legal education and advocacy. I believe that access to justice, as well as knowledge of the law and the rights it affords, are fundamental to the effective functioning of our legal system.”


For Riddle, the show has allowed her to demonstrate that the law can be accessible and inspiring, even if the issues are is complex. Julia says:

“Working with Common Law Radio has given me the opportunity to engage directly with the inaccessibility of legal knowledge in a creative and unique way. Facilitating law-related storytelling on the radio makes complex legal issues human, understandable, and vastly relatable — characteristics rarely attributed to the law. It’s been awe-inspiring to hear about the impressive work being done by so many advocates in British Columbia, and an important reminder to always keep the human element central while working as a legal professional.”


The show is broadcast live over FM radio (CFRO 100.5 FM), streamed live online, and a typical episode is downloaded several hundred times within the first days of being posted.


Go to to subscribe to podcasts and emails about new episodes of the show.

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