Kanchana Fernando wins Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award

Lauded for imparting practical skills in framing facts

Helen Metella - 22 July 2021

Lawyer Kanchana Fernando received the 2021 Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award in part for her outstanding work teaching students how best to use facts.

Fernando, ‘07 LLB, who is deputy regional director and senior counsel at Department of Justice Canada, has taught Public Law Advocacy at the Faculty since 2016. The course teaches students how to frame and counter facts when constructing submissions.

Students consistently call it one of the most useful and practical courses they have encountered in law school and describe Fernando as a caring and empathetic instructor who instils confidence.

Fernando created the course because she sees articling students with excellent research and advocacy skills honed through moot court competitions who sometimes struggle crafting short submissions.

Using short lectures, in-class exercises and mini moots judged by guest lawyers who deliver immediate oral feedback, she teaches students how to make submissions to courts and tribunals they will commonly encounter during early years of practice — contested sentencing, bail and applications for a stay.

Additionally, students praise Fernando’s assistance outside the classroom. “(She) goes above and beyond to support students at the U of A. She is often a speaker at Women’s Law Forum events, she has appeared on the WLF Podcast, and is a familiar face around campus. She is kind, compassionate and driven,” said one student.

“I’m honored to win this award,” said Fernando. “Teaching at the law school has reinvigorated my love of the law and of advocacy, and interacting with the hardworking and talented law students is such a rewarding experience. I’m so proud of this year’s students in particular, for all the resilience that they’ve shown in attending law school during the pandemic.”

The Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award is named in honour of Peter Royal, QC, and the late Alex Pringle, QC, each longtime instructors at the Faculty.