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 30
Students 327[1]
UofCalgary Law logo.jpg

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary is a law school in the common law jurisdiction of Calgary, Alberta. 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. With 120 first year spots and approximately 1500 applicants per year, this law school has an acceptance rate of less than 10%, making it among the most competitive in Canada. The graduate admissions (LL.M.) are similarly competitive.

The University of Calgary is consistently ranked among the top 200 law schools in the world (QS World University Rankings).


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings

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.

In 2017, the Faculty of Law launched its new five-year strategic plan, Energy-Innovation-Impact''.


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 Faculty of Law's Juris Doctor (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, the 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.

The JD program may be completed in three years of full-time study or six years of part-time study. The academic year is divided in to two 15-week sessions commencing in September and January. The program satisfies the requirements of the Law Societies of common law Canada for admission to the practice of law.

In 2015, the Faculty of Law launched its new Calgary Curriculum,[2] designed to give students the substantive knowledge and the skills required for continued success in an ever-changing legal marketplace.

Admissions for the JD program are based on a variety of factors include GPA, LSAT score (offered through the Law School Admission Council), personal interest statement and letters of reference.

LL.M Program[edit]

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary offers a thesis-based and a course-based LL.M program, and a Post-baccalaureate Certificate. These programs are focused on the strengths of the law school in the areas of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, as well as the related topics within the focus area, including renewable energy law, water law, administrative law, adapting to climate change and regulating GHG emissions, regulatory theory, taxation, corporate law, economics, contract law, international trade and investment law, Aboriginal law, tort law, environmental ethics, pollution control, waste management, environmental impact law, intellectual property, human rights law and legal theory.[3] 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.

Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development

The University of Calgary’s Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) is an interdisciplinary graduate program providing a balanced education related to energy and environmental management. A combined offering through the Haskayne School of Business, Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculties of Law and Environmental Design, SEDV is an unprecedented program designed for professionals and students who are seeking a broad-based and comprehensive education in sustainable energy.[4]

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.

Centers, Institutes and Community Involvement[edit]

Student Legal Assistance (SLA)

Student Legal Assistance has operated since 1979 in order to provide free legal information and representation to low income residents of Calgary and the surrounding regions. SLA is a non-profit, registered charity organization staffed primarily by law students at University Of Calgary.

Canadian Institute of Resources Law

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

Public Interest Law Clinic

The Public Interest Law Clinic is a legal clinic at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, created to advocate for systemic change that values and advances the well-being of the public and the environment. Second and third year law students who are taking the PILC clinical course (co-taught by the Executive Director and a Staff Lawyer) provide services to the PILC’s clients. A practicing lawyer, who is licensed and insured by the Law Society of Alberta, supervises the clinic students.

Journal of Environmental Law and Practice

Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, academic and professional journal, the premier refereed periodical on environmental law and policy as evidenced by its numerous citations in various courts including the Supreme Court of Canada. Edited by Marin Olszynski (LL.M. Berkley) and Sharon Mascher (BCL McGill) of U Calgary Faculty of Law, along with Meinhard Doelle (LL.M. Osgoode Hall) at Dalhousie.


ABlawg: The University of Calgary Faculty of Law Blog includes commentary by faculty members, sessional instructors, research associates at our affiliated institutes, and students on court and tribunal decisions as well as legislative and policy developments in Alberta and beyond.

See also[edit]