About Mateya Selders
I am an Articling Student at Savage Oykhman Law, in association with Strategic Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal defence law office, with central offices across Western Canada and Ontario.
As a born and raised Calgarian I’ve clung closely to a philosophy of advocacy that’s founded on the importance of community. The prospect of serving my fellow Calgarians is what inspires my determination to be a strong legal advocate. My passion for the law and its web of intricacies is what guides me on that path.
An unavoidable interest in criminal justice and the law was fostered early on when I began my academic career at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Studying for my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, I took a liking to topics such as restorative or alternative justice, constitutional law (especially Charter-related issues) and at the time, newly enacted federal mandatory breathalyzing laws.
While studying law in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, I leaned into the legal research side of things. During my time at the University of Windsor, I served as an Editor for The Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues and undertook to learn more about Canadian trials by jury. I conducted extensive research on juror disqualification laws across Canada, the abolishment of the peremptory challenge, and the history of and rationale for the unanimity rule on juries.
While the closeness I have to my community has always been of the utmost importance to me, I also understand the value of a diversified perspective. I nurtured this sentiment in not only my volunteer work but also through engaging in two overseas learning opportunities.
In 2018, I had the absolute pleasure of engaging in a field study in China where I first-hand experienced the ins and outs of the Chinese criminal justice system. Having had the opportunity to visit different police stations, courts and correctional facilities while visiting, I garnered an unimagined perspective of justice; one that has inspired me to passionately and fervently uphold the available protections to accused persons in the Canadian criminal justice system.
Additionally, in 2022, I studied law for a semester in Germany, further augmenting my global perspective on justice.
Community Involvement and Outreach
I’ve always endeavored to ensure my understanding of justice and the law as undergirded by those who it serves – the people. This is why volunteer work in my community has continued to be so important to me.
I’ve adhered to my strong belief in the effectiveness of restorative justice through my volunteer work with the Calgary Youth Justice Society. There, I Chair a panel overseeing youth charged criminally and assist in diverting them out of the conventional justice system and into alternative sanctioning plans which in turn, has resulted in lower recidivism of our youth offenders.
A diversified experience weighs in equal importance for me to a local perspective, and this was further cultivated through my time with the Calgary Immigrant Educational Centre where I worked as a mentor and teacher’s assistant with newly immigrated people arriving in Calgary.
Research and Publications
An ongoing theme in my academic and career life has been my continued endorsement of restorative justice as an effective tool in sentencing and the administration of justice. In 2020, I wrote an article published in the Canadian Criminal Justice Association’s Justice Report cataloguing the debates and controversies surrounding restorative justice. This article was put forward by one of my professors and is intended to be an outline of both the applaudable achievements of restorative justice but, to equally address the concerns and deficits of such practice.
Additionally, in 2018, when the Federal Government conducted an overhaul on conveyance laws in the Criminal Code, my passion for Charter related issues sparked an Honour’s Thesis on the constitutionality of mandatory breathalyzing laws.
How I Can Help
I’ve spent the last 7 years of my academic journey nurturing a true affinity for advocacy and for criminal law. I’m finally ready to take everything I’ve learned, including my unique experiences, and apply them to serving our clients. The people in my community are of the upmost importance to me, and I am confident that even as a student-at-law I can do a great job for anyone seeking our help.