McGill University Faculty of Law
|Faculté de droit de l'université McGill (French)|
|Location||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Languages||English (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. Its civil law degree is ranked as the best in Canada, and consistently outranks Europe, Asia, and Latin America's top civil law schools.
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, more than any law school in Canada. 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, 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 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.
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. 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).
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. 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.
Controversy over Bilingual Policy
Officially, the McGill program is "offered in a bilingual environment." 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). Therefore, it is possible to study in the program with a nearly complete disengagement from the French language.
Justices of the Supreme Court
- Thibaudeau Rinfret, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Douglas Abbott, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Marie Deschamps, (LL.M.) puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Morris Fish, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Clément Gascon, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Désiré Girouard, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Gerald Le Dain, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Charles Gonthier, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Louis-Philippe de Grandpré, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Pierre-Basile Mignault, puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Max M. Teitelbaum, (B.C.L.) puisne justice of the Federal Court of Canada
- Edward Stuart McDougall, judge on the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
- John Abbott, Prime Minister of Canada
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada
- Brian Gallant, (LL.M.) Premier of New Brunswick
- Ken Dryden, cabinet minister and MP for York Centre, former Montreal Canadiens goaltender
- Joël Lightbound, MP for Louis-Hébert
- Rodolphe Laflamme, 5th Attorney General of Canada
- Joe Oliver, former MP for Eglinton—Lawrence, Minister of Finance and Minister of Natural Resources
- Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the NDP, MP for Outremont, former Quebec MNA for Chomedy and Minister of Environment
- Narcisse Pérodeau, 14th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
- Yves Fortier, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations and President of the United Nations Security Council
- Donald James Johnston, 4th Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Attorney General of Canada from 1984 to 1988.
- Hubert Lacroix, CEO and President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- David Lawee - Partner and founder of Google Capital
Notable previous faculty members
- Irwin Cotler, human rights lawyer, MP for Mount Royal and Canadian Minister of Justice
- Paul-André Crépeau, responsible for drafting the new Civil Code of Quebec
- Charles Joseph Doherty, Attorney General of Canada from 1911 to 1921
- H. Patrick Glenn, comparative legal scholar and author of Legal Traditions of the World
- Julius Grey, Quebec human rights lawyer
- John Peters Humphrey, founding Director of the United Nations Human Rights division and principal drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Nicholas Kasirer, scholar of civil law, comparative law, and law and language, Dean of the faculty 2004-2009, Quebec Court of Appeal judge
- David Lametti, MP for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade
- W.C.J. Meredith, Q.C., D.C.L., special federal prosecutor at the trial of Fred Rose, for whom the Meredith Memorial Lectures are named
- Roderick A. Macdonald, Dean of the Faculty (1984-1989) influential law reformer, scholar, teacher, mentor and Founding President of the Law Commission of Canada
- Yves-Marie Morrissette, civil and comparative law scholar, Quebec Court of Appeal judge
- F. R. Scott, constitutional rights lawyer, civil libertarian, and poet
- William Tetley, C.M., Q.C., LL. L., maritime law scholar, Quebec MNA for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Cabinet Minister
- Stephen Toope, international law scholar, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University and former President of the University of British Columbia
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- Federal Court of Canada
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