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McGill University Faculty of Law

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McGill University Faculty of Law
Established 1848
School type Public
Dean Robert Leckey
Location Montreal, QC, CA
Enrollment 652
Faculty 98 (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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McGill University Faculty of Law is located in Montreal, QC

The Faculty of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the oldest law school in Canada, and continually ranks among the best law schools in the world.[1][2][3] Its civil law degree is ranked as the best in Canada,[4] and consistently outranks Europe, Asia, and Latin America's top civil law schools.[5][6][7]

The Faculty offers the Juris Doctor (JD) common law degree, previously a LLB,[8] and Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) degrees, concurrently, in three to four years, allowing graduates to practice in the Canadian, US and UK common law system as well as Quebec, continental Europe, east Asia and Latin America's civil law system. The Faculty also offers the Master of Laws (LLM) and Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degrees.

Notable alumni include Prime Ministers John Abbott and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, twelve Justices of the Supreme Court (Including the most recent appointment Nicholas Kasirer), as well as numerous Members of Parliament.


The Faculty of Law was officially created in 1853, after a petition signed by young men studying law in Montreal was made to McGill in 1848.[9] With the incoming class of 1969, the Faculty added a stand-alone common law degree, suitable to the practice of law in other Canadian provinces, which could be taken individually or jointly with the traditional civilian curriculum. The joint degree was then referred to as the National Programme, and taught common law and civil law in separate courses, but combined their study in a year-long introductory "Foundations" course and in some upper-year seminars.[10] In 1951, McGill inaugurated its first post-graduate law program with the creation of its Institute of Air & Space Law.[11] The Institute was founded by John Cobb Cooper, who had served as a senior official in Pan American World Airways, and the International Air Transport Association.[12] Canada's only United Nations organ, the International Civil Aviation Organization, is also headquartered in Montreal.[13]Template:Circular reference

With the incoming class of 1999, the Faculty eliminated its civil, common, and national programs, and replaced them with a single program, which includes some mandatory first-year courses and some upper-year courses which integrate both common and civil law. This joint and bilingual degree, which all students must take, is now referred to as the transsystemic program.[14] This program underwent slight revisions during a curriculum renewal unrolled in 2016. Under the newly revised program, criminal and property law are taught differently; incoming students also undergo two "integration weeks" (one in the fall and winter).[15]

The Transsystemic program was created under the direction of former Dean Stephen Toope, whereby every student graduates with degrees in both civil law and common law. This means that, from the first year, courses now explore civil and common law concepts in close comparison. Students analyse and critically evaluate the two traditions, their histories, and their social, political, and cultural contexts.[16] Undergraduate students may participate in international exchange programs, and in the International Courts and Tribunals Program, which in 2006 received a Scotiabank-AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization.[17]

The Faculty of Law, through the Institute of Air and Space Law, publishes annually the since 1976 the first and only bilingual publication in the field of air and space law, the Annals of Air and Space Law.[18] Other bilingual publications of the Faculty of Law include the McGill Law Journal and the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law.[19]


Graduates of the Faculty consistently account for one quarter of Canada's Supreme Court clerkships,[20][21][22][23] more than any law school in Canada.[24] One of the small number of elite law schools internationally that may submit International Court of Justice (ICJ) clerkship applications, it also consistently places graduates at the ICJ,[25][26] and has a better placement record than any other Canadian law school.

Its flagship law review, the McGill Law Journal, is the most cited law faculty review by Canada's Supreme Court, and was ranked the best overall student-run law journal in the world outside of the United States. It also publishes the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, the standard reference work for almost all Canadian law reviews, Canadian law schools, and courts.

The McGill University Faculty of Law has consistently placed as the top ranking law school in Canada and has the highest acceptance requirements. The alumni from McGill University's law school consist of a diverse group of distinguished leaders on a global scale. It has historically placed in the top 35 law schools globally on multiple ranking systems.[27] It was recently ranked the 22nd best law school worldwide in the 2019 QS World Ranking.[27]


In 2018, the Faculty, along with the McGill Office for Students with Disabilities, were sued by a blind law student who alleged that he was systematically denied access to accommodation measures. His lawsuit was covered by local and national media outlets.[28][29][30]

Notable people

Template:Expand list

Current faculty members

Past faculty members

Deans of the Faculty

The study of law at McGill began in 1844 when William Badgley was appointed lecturer in law within the Faculty of Arts. While informal classes began earlier, the Faculty of Law was officially established at McGill in 1853, with William Badgley appointed its first dean. Over the years, the following people have served the Faculty of Law as deans.[33][34][35][36][37]


Justices of the Supreme Court

Jurists and legal professionals

Political figures


See also


  1. Top Law Schools in 2017, (13 March 2017)
  2. Top Law Schools in 2016, (24 March 2016)
  3. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Law QS Top Universities, Retrieved 21 August 2017
  4.  [1],
  5. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Law, (17 March 2016)
  6. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Law, (22 April 2015)
  7. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2013 - Law, (30 April 2013)
  8. McGill adopts JD designation for common law degree, (27 November 2019)
  9. History of the Faculty of Law to 1968, McGill University
  10. R. Macdonald, "The National Law Programme at McGill: Origins, Establishment, Prospects" Dalhousie Law Journal, 1990: 13: 211-363.
  13. John Cobb Cooper
  14. Morissette, Yves-Marie, "McGill's Integrated Civil and Common Law Program" J. Legal Educ., 2002: 52: 12-28.
  15. "The next phase of legal education", "Law Focus Online, June 2015"
  16. Strauss, Peter, "Transsystemia—Are We Approaching a New Langdellian Moment? Is McGill Leading the Way?" J. Legal Educ., 2006: 56: 161-171.
  17. Archived copy,
  18. IASL,
  19. MJSDL,
  20.  Cinq McGillois pour la Cour suprême du Canada,
  21.  2018 Supreme Court Clerks,
  22.  Seven Clerks for Seven Judges,
  23.  Six Supreme Law Court Clerks,
  24.  The 2013 Canadian Maclean's Law School Rankings,
  25. Clerks,
  26. Former Clerks,
  27. 27.0 27.1 The Faculty of Law places 22nd worldwide in QS World University Rankings,
  28. "Blind McGill Law student says school failed to accommodate disability"
  29. "Blind law student takes McGill to Quebec Human Rights Commission"
  30. "Blind student accuses McGill of failing to properly accommodate disabled students"
  32. Bidding farewell to Roderick A. Macdonald (1948-2014),
  33. "Vol. 1 R.G. 37: THE FACULTY OF LAW", The Archival Records of McGill University
  34. Ian Pilarczyk, "Chapter 1, p. 27", A Noble Roster: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Law at McGill
  35. "Professor Nicholas Kasirer completes extraordinary deanship", McGill University News and Events, 2 June 2009
  36. "Daniel Jutras named Dean of Law at McGill ", McGill University News and Events, 17 February 2010
  37. "Robert Leckey named Dean of the Faculty of Law", McGill University News and Events, 22 April 2016
  38. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  39. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  40. "The Honourable Marie Deschamps",Supreme Court of Canada
  41. "The Honourable Morris Fish",Supreme Court of Canada
  42. "The Honourable Clément Gascon",Supreme Court of Canada
  43. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  44. "The Honourable Charles Doherty Gonthier",Supreme Court of Canada
  45. Prime Minister announces appointment of the Honourable Nicholas Kasirer to the Supreme Court of Canada,
  46. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  47. "The Honourable Sheilah L. Martin",Supreme Court of Canada
  48. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  49. Supreme Court of Canada - HTTP 500: Internal Server Error / Supreme Court of Canada - Message du serveur - Erreur de serveur interne,
  50. Federal Court of Canada
  51. "Abbott, Sir John Joseph Caldwell",Dictionary of Canadian Biography
  52. "McGill University Alumni: Public Service",About McGill
  53. "History of McGill University: 1821-1875",About McGill

External links

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