McGill University Faculty of Law

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McGill University Faculty of Law
Faculté de droit de l'université McGill  (French)
DeanRobert Leckey
Academic staff
Location, ,
LanguagesEnglish (Predominantly), French

The Faculty of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. It is the oldest law school in Canada, and continually ranks among the best law schools in the world.[2][3][4] Its civil law degree is ranked as the best in Canada,[5] and consistently outranks Europe, Asia, and Latin America's top civil law schools.[6][7][8]

The Faculty offers the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) degrees, concurrently, in three to four years, allowing graduates to practice in the Canadian, U.S. 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 (LL.M.) and Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) degrees.

Graduates of the Faculty consistently account for one quarter of Canada's Supreme Court clerkships,[9][10] more than any law school in Canada.[11] 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,[12][13] 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.[14][better source needed] 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.

Notable alumni include Prime Ministers John Abbott and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, ten Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as numerous Members of Parliament.


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings

The Faculty of Law was officially created in 1848. 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.[15]

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.[16] 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).[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] Other bilingual publications of the Faculty of Law include the McGill Law Journal and the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law.[21]


Officially, the McGill program is "offered in a bilingual environment."[22] The Admissions Committee and other sections of the Faculty of Law frequently advance the claim that the Faculty requires passive bilingualism of all its students. However, once admitted to the program, students are free to take all their classes in English (the same is not true in French, as some courses are only offered in English).

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 widely covered by local and national media outlets.[23][24][25]

Notable alumni[edit]

Justices of the Supreme Court[edit]




Notable previous faculty members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. ^ "Top Law Schools in 2017". QS World Rankings. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Top Law Schools in 2016". QS World Rankings. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  4. ^ QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Law QS Top Universities, Retrieved 21 August 2017
  5. ^ . Macleans Retrieved August 22, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ QS World Rankings Retrieved August 22, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ QS World Rankings Retrieved August 22, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ QS World Rankings Retrieved August 22, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Seven Clerks for Seven Judges". McGill Faculty of Law. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "Six Supreme Law Court Clerks". McGill Faculty of Law. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  11. ^ "The 2013 Canadian Maclean's Law School Rankings". Macleans. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "Clerks". McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "Former Clerks". Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "McGill Law Journal". Wikipedia. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  15. ^ R. Macdonald, "The National Law Programme at McGill: Origins, Establishment, Prospects" Dalhousie Law Journal, 1990: 13: 211-363.
  16. ^ <name="Morissette">Morissette, Yves-Marie, "McGill's Integrated Civil and Common Law Program" J. Legal Educ., 2002: 52: 12-28.
  17. ^ "The next phase of legal education", "Law Focus Online"
  18. ^ <name="Strauss">Strauss, Peter, "Transsystemia—Are We Approaching a New Langdellian Moment? Is McGill Leading the Way?" J. Legal Educ., 2006: 56: 161-171.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2007.
  20. ^ "IASL".
  21. ^ "MJSDL".
  22. ^ "Language Requirements" Requirements for Admission in Law, retrieved 21 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Blind McGill Law student says school failed to accommodate disability"
  24. ^ "Blind law student takes McGill to Quebec Human Rights Commission"
  25. ^ "Blind student accuses McGill of failing to properly accommodate disabled students"
  26. ^ Federal Court of Canada
  27. ^ "Bidding farewell to Roderick A. Macdonald (1948-2014)". Retrieved 28 August 2015.