University of British Columbia Faculty of Law

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University of British Columbia Faculty of Law at Allard Hall
Coat of Arms
of the University of British Columbia
Motto Fiat Justitia Ruat Coelum (Latin) meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall" = 1945
Type Public Law School
Chancellor Mr. Lindsay Gordon[1]
President Dr. Arvind Gupta[2]
Provost Dr. David Farrar
Dean Mary Anne Bobinski
Academic staff 147
Students 567[3]
Undergraduates 600 students
Postgraduates available
Location Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Campus Urban, Point Grey
Sport Teams UBC Thunderbirds
Colours Gold and Blue         
Mascot Thunderbird
Affiliations G13
Universitas 21

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law is one of the largest English language legal programs in Canada, with over 600 law students. The school offers a three-year Juris Doctor (JD) program and the graduate degrees of Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Jurisprudence (MJur) and doctorate (PhD) degrees. Among other things, the faculty has courses emphasizing Pacific Rim issues, business law, tax law, environmental and natural resource law, indigenous law, and feminist law.

Aerial view of UBC Law at Allard Hall in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)


The law school's motto is: fiat justitia ruat cœlum meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."


The Faculty is located at the University of British Columbia's Point Grey campus in the University Endowment Lands, just outside the city limits of Vancouver, British Columbia. Until May, 2009 the Faculty was housed in the Curtis Building, named for the Faculty's founding dean, George F. Curtis, who died on October 23, 2005. The Curtis Building has been demolished and replaced with Allard Hall, named after donor Peter A. Allard, QC.[4] which was constructed on the same land.


UBC law is currently ranked 5th in Canada by Maclean's 2013 Law School Rankings,[5] and 40th in the world and 3rd in Canada by the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject: Law and Legal Studies[6]


University rankings
University of British Columbia
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[7] 5

Courses in law were taught at UBC from its founding. However, it did not create a formal Faculty of Law until 1945 in response to the large number of veterans returning from World War II needing education. Given special funding by the Provincial Government, the school hired George Curtis from Dalhousie's Faculty of Law to serve as their first Dean and within two months the Faculty was educating its first incoming class. Due to a lack of infrastructure, the University secured army huts that had been used to house servicemen during the war to house the law school until a permanent structure became available.[8] The law school became the standard means by which prospective lawyers could become members of the bar, replacing the traditional approach that involved articling under an established lawyer in a relationship much like an apprenticeship.

UBC was recognized as Canada's second academic legal institution, following in the footsteps of Dalhousie Law School (now Schulich School of law) and in the tradition of Harvard Law School. It was unique in offering a broad range of courses, including international law, taxation, labour law, conflicts of law, and municipal law in addition to the traditional black letter law classes.[9] UBC was one of the first schools in Canada to have professors utilize the Socratic method in teaching, pushing students to think critically of the cases they were expected to read.[10]

In 1951, after the inadequacy of the army huts became apparent, the Faculty received funding from the University to build its own permanent structure. This building became the first permanent structure for UBC Law, and remained so until 1973. During this era, UBC Law pioneered the use of casebooks, collections of excerpts from legal cases designed to illustrate principles derived from judicial decisions.[11]

Programs & Research Centres[edit]

Centre for Business Law[edit]

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law is home to the Centre for Business Law. The CBL is an interdisciplinary environment providing empirical research and scholarship in both domestic and international business law and finance policy. The Centre provides a forum for engagement and open debate focussed on the advancement and development of business law policy. The Centre allows students to earn a designation in business law.[12]

Centre for Law and the Environment[edit]

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law is home to the Centre for Law and the Environment, which works to establish an interdisciplinary network of scholars and policymakers to help tackle challenges faced by our rapidly globalizing world. The Centre specializes in environmental and natural resource law, and allows students earn a designation in this highly demanding legal field.[13]

Law Students Legal Advice Program[edit]

The Law Students Legal Advice Program is a non-for-profit society run by UBC Law students. LSLAP provides free legal advice and representation to clients who are unable to afford legal assistance. Established in 1969, the program has since grown into a large organization of over 200 volunteer student clinicians staffing 20 legal clinics across the Greater Vancouver Regional District on a year round basis. LSLAP provides direct assistance to clients, and helps to educate the community in the use of the legal system.[14]

International Centre for Criminal Law Reform & Criminal Justice Policy[edit]

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law is home to the ICCLR, a joint initiative of the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Government of Canada, and the International Society for the reform of Criminal Law. The Centre is officially affiliated with the United Nations (UN) pursuant to a formal agreement between the Government of Canada and the United Nations. The Centre is a component of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. The Centre's Mandate is to promote human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and good governance in criminal law and the administration of criminal law, both domestically and internationally.[15][16][17]

Centre for Asian Legal Studies[edit]

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law is the home to the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, which is the largest group of academics engaged in teaching and research of Asian legal issues in Canada. The focus of the Centre is on law and legal culture of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.[18]

Other Programs[edit]

See: UBC Programs and Research Centres

  • Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Program
  • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies
  • Indigenous Legal Studies Program
  • UBC Law Innocence Project
  • British Columbia Law Institute
  • Pro Bono Students Canada-UBC Chapter

Allard Hall[edit]

Main article: Allard Hall

On July 13, 2011 UBC announced a significant gift from law alumnus Peter A. Allard, QC in the amount of $11.86 million. Mr. Allard's gift is the single largest donation to UBC's Faculty of Law and one of the largest donations ever to a Canadian law school. Mr. Allard directed $9.825 million of his donation towards the construction of a new law building, which the university chose to name "Allard Hall". Private fundraising in conjunction with the Allard donation nearly $35 million, making the campaign one of the most successful private fundraising effort in history for a Canadian law school building. Of that amount, $21 million was allotted to the new building's $56 million cost.

The donation from Mr. Allard was also used to establish the Allard Prize for International Integrity and to create an online historical faculty archive, the UBC Law History Project. In addition, Mr. Allard also donated a sculpture by Native American artist Allan Houser entitled Legends Begin, which is displayed on the fourth floor Terrace Lounge in Allard Hall. Recently, Mr. Allard donated a number of art pieces by photographer Fred Herzog, who captured images of people and scenes of Vancouver's urban landscape in the 1950s and 60s.


UBC Law Review[edit]

One of Canada's foremost referred peer-reviewed law journals. The UBC Law Review's mandate is to stimulate debate and encourage discussion on Canadian and international legal matters through the publication of independent articles, case comments, and book reviews. Spanning over 50 years, the law review has a tradition of excellence that boasts many prominent judges, practitioners, and professors among its past members. First published in 1949, it was originally a collection of essays entitled UBC Legal Notes. In 1959 it officially became the UBC Law Review. In the tradition of the world's highest ranking law journals, the editorial process and business of the Society is run by Juris Doctor students, while manuscripts submitted to the journal are peer-reviewed by renowned scholars with specialized knowledge of the subject matter.[19]

Table of Statutory Limitations[edit]

First published in 1955 as a section of the UBC Law Review, the TSL has since matured into an annual compendium of legal limitation periods of various statutes. The TSL is published by UBC Law Students[20] and features the following:

  • All Canadian provincial and territorial Limitation Acts
  • Small Claims Court Rules
  • Supreme Court of British Columbia Rules
  • British Columbia Court of Appeal Rules

Annual Review of Insolvency Law[edit]

The only Canadian peer-reviewed journal dedicated to insolvency and bankruptcy law. This annual publication offers articles by scholars and practitioners on personal and commercial insolvency law.[21]

Canadian Journal of Family Law[edit]

First published in 1978, the Canadian Journal of Family Law is Canada's first family law journal. The journal is a biannual interdisciplinary journal that publishes both English and French academic articles on a broad range of issues related to family law. The journal is peer reviewed by an advisory board consisting of legal professionals and academics. It is produced by an editorial staff of UBC law students.[22]

Masks: The Online Journal of Law and Theatre[edit]

An interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal based at UBC Law. The journal focusses on the intersections of Law and theatre.[23]

UBC International Law Journal[edit]

The UBC International Law Journal is an online open access academic journal published by students at UBC Law. The Journal was initially created through the UBC International Law Society. The Journal publishes exclusively student work, reviewed by students. The first issue was published in November 2008.[24]

The Legal Eye newspaper[edit]

The Legal Eye is a newspaper published monthly by students at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. Started in September 2003, the Legal Eye serves as a forum for reporting on news about the Faculty, broader legal community, case commentary, the occasional recipe, book/restaurant/film reviews, event reviews, and for recognizing student activities and achievements.


  • 1945 to 1971: George F. Curtis, OC OBC QC
  • 1971 to 1976: Albert McClean, QC
  • 1976 to 1982: Kenneth M. Lysyk, QC
  • 1982 to 1991: Peter T. Burns, QC
  • 1991 to 1997: Lynn Smith, QC
  • 1997 to 2003: Joost Blom, QC
  • 2003 to present: Mary Anne Bobinski

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


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  3. ^ LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  4. ^ "UBC Law Receives $11.86 Million Gift". 
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  7. ^ "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
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  33. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (2009-05-30). "Thomas Franck, Who Advised Countries on Law, Dies at 77". The New York Times. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ Sands, Philippe (2009-08-23). "Obituary". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°16′11″N 123°15′13″W / 49.2698°N 123.2536°W / 49.2698; -123.2536