University of Calgary Faculty of Law

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Faculty of Law
Motto Mo Shùile Togam Suas
Motto in English I will lift up my eyes
Established 1976 (1976)
Type Law school
Academic affiliation University of Calgary
Location Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Dean Ian Holloway
Academic staff 2,461
Students 327[1]
UofCalgary Law logo.jpg

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary officially opened in 1976 with a first-year class of sixty students and nine faculty members. Currently, there are 31 full-time faculty and just over 300 students in the JD program, giving the school one of the smallest class sizes of the Canadian law schools.

The University of Calgary is consistently ranked among the top 200 law schools in the world (QS World University Rankings) and is one of only two Canadian law schools under 50 to be ranked that high.


University rankings
Global rankings
University of Calgary
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[2] 11

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary was a community initiative established by members of the Calgary legal community and the University of Calgary in combination with the City of Calgary. It took ten years to bring the law school into existence from the tireless efforts of these individuals. The Faculty of Law continues to thrive based on its strong ties to the Calgary legal community.

The first Faculty of Law in the city of Calgary first opened in 1913. The first law school was part of Calgary College, a private post-secondary institution with no degree granting status. Calgary College consisted of a class of twelve students, two lecturers and a dean. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 caused for the disbandment of the law school and the students continued their legal education at the University of Alberta, located three hours north of Calgary in the city of Edmonton.

The only law school in the province of Alberta for the next sixty-two years was the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.

There was a wide range of interested groups expressing strong support for the idea of having a law school located in Calgary. In 1971 an ad hoc committee with representation from the Bench and the Bar strongly recommended for the creating of the Faculty of Law in the city of Calgary. In 1973, a government appointed committed made the same recommendation to the Minister of Advanced Education.

Both the Calgary Bar and the City of Calgary sought ways to make significant financial contributions for the development of a law library. In September 1974, the Ministry of Advanced Education gave its final approval to the proposal for the establishment of the Faculty of Law.

The University of Calgary Faculty of Law officially opened its doors in 1976 with a first-year class of sixty students and nine faculty members.

The establishment of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary was a community initiative. Members of both the University of Calgary and the Calgary legal community, in combination with the City of Calgary, worked for ten years to bring the school into existence.


The first Dean of the law school, John McLaren (U of C honorary degree recipient, 1997), started his five-year appointment in July 1975. In September 1975, Professor Gail Starr was appointed as the Faculty's first librarian.

  • John McLaren 1975 - 1984
  • Margaret Hughes 1984 - 1989
  • Constance Hunt 1989 - 1992
  • Sheilah Martin 1992 - 1996
  • Michael Wylie 1996 - 2001
  • Patricia Hughes 2001 - 2006
  • Alastair Lucas 2006 - 2011
  • Ian Holloway 2011–present

JD Program[edit]

The Juris Doctor (JD) program (formerly LLB) is the central reason for the Faculty of Law’s existence.

The University of Calgary JD program is designed to prepare students for a variety of roles within the legal system. Designed to lay the groundwork for the development of competent, talented, creative and sensitive professionals, our program prepares students for the rapidly changing society in which the imagination and human qualities of the legally-trained person are likely to be challenged to the fullest. Though the Admissions Committee looks at many factors, most successful applicants have a straight A average and score in the top 20 percent or higher on the LSAT.

LLM Program[edit]

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary is internationally recognized for its strength in examining the relationship between human society and our environment, both in terms of defining the interests we claim and the world around us in the natural resources and plant and animal life, and in shaping the consequences of using those resources. Graduate programs (LLM) are offered with a focus on natural resources, energy and environmental law.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary offers a thesis-based and a course-based LLM program, a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, and special case PhDs. The program is focused on the strengths of the law school which are international law, regulatory law and property law theory. Graduate studies at the law school contribute to general academic research, produce legal scholarship, and develop specialized expertise in focus areas of the legal profession. With permission, graduate law students may also take graduate courses in outside faculties as part of the program.

Admissions for the graduate law programs are granted on a competitive basis by the Faculty of Law in conjunction with the University of Calgary's Faculty of Graduate Studies. In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Law requires a recognized first law degree with a minimum 3.0 average or upper-second class standing. Minimum standards alone are generally not sufficient for successful applicants to this school's' graduate program as the annual LL.M. admissions are capped at a small number, thereby further increasing selectivity.[3]

International Energy Lawyers Program[edit]

In 2012, the Faculty of Law launched a joint degree program with the University of Houston Law Center - the International Energy Lawyers Program (IELP). The program allows students to earn both Canadian and American law degrees in just four years, and enables them to apply for admission to bars in both the US and Canada.

Through the IELP, law students learn to analyze complex emerging issues in energy and environmental sectors in two of North America's leading energy centres. The driving foce behind the IELP is a shared commitment to natural resources, energy and environmental law. The University of Calgary and the University of Houston Law Center each enjoy international reputations as leading law schools in these areas.

Centers, Institutes and Community Involvement[edit]

Student Legal Assistance (SLA)

Student Legal Assistance is a nonprofit association located at the Law School that delivers a range of free legal services to residents of the Calgary area who cannot afford legal assistance. In providing these services, law students are given the opportunity to serve the community and develop professional skills and knowledge through interviewing, case research, and court appearances. During the school year, SLA operates a clinic four evenings a week. A full-time legal clinic is run at the Law School and The Bow Valley during the summer months.

Canadian Institute of Resources Law

Canadian Institute of Resources Law (CIRL) is a leading national centre of expertise on legal and policy issues relating to Canada’s natural resources. Since its establishment in 1979, the Institute has pursued a threefold mandate of research, education, and publication.

The Institute engages in a wide variety of research projects on its own initiative and in response to requests from government and the private sector. Completed studies include mining law in Canada; the application of environmental protection legislation to the forest sector; oil and gas law on Canada lands; and water law in Canada.

Ongoing research includes legal and policy issues in the areas of forestry, water resource management, the petroleum sector, environmental regulation, international trade and mining.

Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre

The Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, founded by Sheldon M. Chumir, was incorporated in 1982 and is affiliated with the Alberta Civil Liberties Association, and the University of Calgary.

The Research Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness among Albertans about civil liberties and human rights through research, publication and education.

The Research Centre receives core funding from the Alberta Law Foundation and project funding from private foundations as well as from the federal and provincial governments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. ^ "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]