University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

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University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
Crest of the University of Ottawa
Motto Deus Scientiarum Dominus Est
Established 1953
School type Public
Parent endowment $183.9 Million[1]
Dean Nathalie Des Rosiers, LL.B. (Université de Montréal)and LL.M. (Harvard University) (common law section), Céline Lévesque (College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium; George Washington University, Elliot School of International Affairs) (civil law section)
Location Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Enrollment 1168
Faculty 69
uOttawa Law wordmark

The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, sometimes colloquially known as U of O Law, is the law school of the University of Ottawa, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's national capital. The University of Ottawa Law School is one of Canada's most influential,[2] having produced lawyers throughout French and English Canada since the 1950s. It is divided into two sections: a civil law and a common law section. The faculty is very highly rated and maintains close links with the legal community in both Quebec, Ontario and abroad. The faculty of law is also home to two highly respected[3] bilingual law journals, one produced by the civil law section (Revue Générale de Droit) and the other produced by the common law section (Ottawa Law Review)

Established by former Chief Justice Gerald Fauteux, the faculty and has been conferring degrees since the 1950s. As the largest law school in Canada, the faculty often touts the advantages of its wide range of program offerings and proximity to federal agencies and courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2003, the common law section celebrated the 50th anniversary of its English program and the 30th anniversary of its French program.


University rankings
University of Ottawa
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[4] 10

Maclean's released its annual law school ranking on September 19, 2013. In the evaluation, Ottawa's common law Faculty of Law was ranked 10th overall in Canada, notably scoring highly (3rd overall) in the category for Supreme Court clerkships [5] In addition, Canadian Lawyer ranked the school as 5th-best in the country.[citation needed] The civil law faculty was ranked 3rd in Canada (out of 6 civil law schools nationally).[6] Furthermore, in the 2009 Law School Student Survey[citation needed] which ranks student satisfaction, the Faculty of law was ranked amongst the best, an overwhelming 97% of students say they would choose the Ottawa law school all over again if they had a choice.


The law school was created in 1953 on the initiative of Gerald Fauteux, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (and who the law school's building, Fauteux Hall, built in 1973, is named after). It began as an exclusively civil law faculty, designed to train lawyers who would enter the Quebec legal system, particularly in order to practice in the Outaouais region just across the Ottawa River from Ottawa. In 1957, the faculty began training students in the common law as well; the two sections were then divided, with each keeping its own program, faculties and deans. Graduate programs were introduced that same year by the civil law section; it was not until 1981 that the common law section began offering them as well.[7]

Although the school has had since 1970 a system in which students from either the common or civil law sections could receive further training and accreditation in the other, it was not until 1994 that this system was formalized into the National Program. In doing so, the faculty became only the second law faculty in Canada, after McGill University's law school to offer bi-juridical training in both the common law and civil law, the two formally recognized legal systems in Canada.

The Norton Rose Classroom in Fauteux Hall.

During the 2006 fall semester, the university's president Gilles Patry announced that Fauteux Hall would undergo extensive renovations, slated to begin in 2009. Due to funding cutbacks, a new law building expansion was cancelled, however renovations to the interior of Fauteux Hall were completed in 2012. Updates to the building since 2009 include substantial changes to the entrance atrium and Brian Dickson Law Library as well as the addition of the state-of-the-art Norton Rose Classroom. In addition, construction has now begun on the Ian G. Scott Courtroom across the street from the main Faculty of Law Building. The new courtroom will be a fully functional courtroom and adjoining classroom where sitting judges will hear regular cases including motions, appeals, judicial reviews, and applications.[8]


Common Law Section[edit]

In the Common Law Section, which offers standard Juris Doctor (JD) and joint degree programs, students who enter are expected to have completed a three-to-four year undergraduate program. Acceptance to the Common Law program, in particular, is highly competitive. Successful applicants generally have an A- undergraduate grade point average in addition to a competitive LSAT score. The program also claims to consider more holistic admissions criteria, taking into account a variety of factors including work experience, prior education, and other circumstances that may make one's application exceptional.[9] According to the Faculty of Law's website, there were 3469 applications for 280 first year Common Law places in 2009.

Civil Law Section[edit]

In the Civil Law section (the type of law that operates in the Province of Quebec), it is only necessary for a student applying from Quebec to have obtained a Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC) before applying. The Civil Law Section's requirements are generally considered to be less stringent than those of the Common Law Section. Even so, an A- is now required if one is applying from a Quebec university. If a student is applying directly from CEGEP, however, the requirements are usually higher.[10]

Generally the French-language common law section admits up to 60 new students per year, while the English-language section admits up to 280 new students. The civil law section (French-language only) typically admits around 150.

The language of instruction depends on the faculty; while the civil law section is instructed entirely in French, the common law section is available in both English and French, and students can take classes in both languages. In compliance with university policy, all written work can be submitted in either language with the exception of the French Common Law program in which all written and oral work must however be submitted in French.


Students graduating in the common law section receive the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, while students in civil law receive the Bachelor of Civil Law (LL.L) degree. On May 3, 2010, the Senate of the University approved a motion to change the designation of the Common Law degree from LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) to J.D. (Juris Doctor) [7]. A new elite program, Programme de Droit Canadien (PDC), was recently created that allows eighteen exceptional students to earn an LL.B and an LL.L simultaneously in three years. The National Program allows students in both faculties to complete the other's degree as well in a total of four years (after completion of a civil law degree, for example, students can take an extra year to complete the common law requirements and thus have both degrees, and vice versa). The school also offers several other joint programs, including:

  • Dual JD: Combined Canadian-American legal program with the common law section of the faculty and either the Michigan State University College of Law or the Washington College of Law at American University; students obtain both degrees in four years.
  • Jay Hennick J.D./MBA Program: Combined law-business program enabling students to receive both common law and business degrees concurrently in four years.
  • LL.L/MBA Program: A similar program to the J.D./MBA, but for students enrolled in the civil law section.
  • J.D./MA: Combined law-political science degree which enables students to receive, with their law degree, a Master's degree from Carleton University's Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.
  • LL.L/DVM: Allows students enrolled in the civil law section to receive their degree along with a specialized degree in international development and globalization.
  • J.D./LL.L: Programme de Droit Canadien in three years; National program in four years.
  • J.D. Program in conjunction with the Akitsiraq Law School, planned for June 2010.

In addition to the aforementioned programs, graduate work, leading to the Master of Laws (LL.M) and Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degrees, is offered by both sections.


Tuition at the University of Ottawa's law school varies according to the program being studied. Students enrolled in the civil law program pay the lowest, with the tuition rates 2012-2013 set at $8,833.46; this stands in contrast to the common law program, where annual tuition rates for incoming 2012-2013 students are $15,265.56. Students in the National Program pay $10,077.70 for their extra year of study.[11] Students enrolled in the joint LL.B./J.D. program with an American law school pay what the University of Ottawa has termed "regular Canadian law student rates during the entire program," presumably meaning the regular common law tuition fees at the school.[12]

Famous alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 45°25′20″N 75°40′57″W / 45.4222°N 75.6824°W / 45.4222; -75.6824


External links[edit]