Queen's University Faculty of Law

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Faculty of Law
Queen's Law University Crest.png
Coat of Arms of the Faculty of Law
Soit Droit Fait
Motto in English
Let Right Be Done
TypeFaculty (law school)
Established1861; 160 years ago (1861)
AffiliationQueen's University at Kingston
DeanMark Walters
Academic staff
Location, ,

The Queen's University Faculty of Law is a professional faculty of Queen's University at Kingston in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and is regarded as one of the most prestigious institutions of legal education in Canada. According to the 2013 Maclean's Magazine Law School Rankings, Queen’s is tied for third among law schools in Canada.[2]

While the tradition of legal education at Queen's University heralds back nearly 150 years in 1861, the law school as it currently exists was officially established in 1957. Faculty members from Queen's have been honoured with major teaching and research awards, and are recognized nationally and internationally as leading experts in their fields. Past and current professors at Queen's such as William Lederman, Toni Pickard, Gary Trotter, Allan Manson, Nick Bala and Don Stuart are routinely cited in Supreme Court of Canada and other appellate decisions. As consultants, advisors, and project directors, Queen's Law professors have made substantial contributions to various provincial and national law commissions, as well as national and international organizations.

Queen's Law School is housed in Sir John A. Macdonald Hall (up until 2020) the name was changed to the Law Building after community consultation. The building was inaugurated by Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker in 1960, and was completely renovated in 2003. It houses the William R. Lederman Law Library, named after the former dean and respected scholar, which contains over 150,000 legal volumes.


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings

The first Faculty of Law at Queen's University was established in 1861, two years later awarding the first honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Sir John A. Macdonald who would go on to serve as Canada's first Prime Minister. The first Dean of Law, Alexander Campbell, was also a "Father of Confederation". This early faculty only lasted a few years and efforts were made to revive the law school in 1880 although, again, after graduating a number of students the law school closed after a number of years largely because the Law Society of Upper Canada refused to recognize degrees awarded outside of Osgoode Hall. The modern law school was founded in 1957 with James Corry, Stuart Ryan and Daniel Soberman as the founding members of the faculty. In 1958, William Lederman, the pre-eminent constitutional law scholar of his era, became the first dean of the new law school.

Kingston was the long-time home of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald; as a lawyer, he advocated many famed cases in this city. In honour of its relationship to this Prime Minister, the Queen's University Faculty of Law is housed in Macdonald Hall on Union Street, designated to symbolize the union of Upper Canada and Lower Canada in 1841.

Queen's Law continues to be a unique institution within the Canadian legal academic environment by, for instance, running the only Canadian legal study abroad program at the Queen's University campus at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.

The Faculty of Law of Queen’s University at Kingston's Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on April 20, 2007.[3] The crest of Queen's University's Faculty of Law consists of a sword and the scales of justice superimposed on the Cross of St. Andrew. Professor Stuart Ryan, one of the law school's founding faculty members, gave the school its motto – Soit Droit Fait. The phrase has a double meaning. It is a statement of the power and creative potential inherent in the law that was used by medieval kings when assenting to bills passed by Parliament – "let the law be made." It is also an expression of the commitment to justice and decency implicit in the ideal of legality – "let right be done."



Most accepted applicants have completed a four-year university program. The preference is to accept those applicants who have an honours undergraduate degree, and many admitted students have attained graduate degrees as well. Acceptance into Queen's Law is highly competitive, with about 2,400 applicants vying for around 160 positions. The average LSAT score of accepted applicants is 163 and the average undergraduate GPA is 3.73 in the general category.[4]

The Faculty Board and Queen's University Senate voted to change the LL.B. degree to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) designation to reflect the fact that the vast majority of Queen's Faculty of Law's graduates enter the program with at least one university degree.

Joint degrees[edit]

The Faculty of Law at Queen's University is known for its vibrant and collegial learning environment. It currently offers a Juris Doctor program (J.D.) and a graduate program in law (LL.M.). In addition, combined degree programs include a Masters of Industrial Relations (M.I.R.), Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.),Masters of Arts in Economics (M.A.) and a Queen's School of Business Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.). The Faculty of law also has a doctoral program.

Clinical programs[edit]

Practical experience is a major component of legal education at Queen's, with mandatory advocacy courses and a large proportion of the student body being engaged in one of the school's five pro bono legal clinics: Queen's Legal Aid, the Prison Law Clinic, the Queen's Business Law Clinic, Queen's Elder Law Clinic, and Queen's Family Law Clinic. The Clinics are located a short distance from the Queen's campus in downtown Kingston. In these programs students gain practical legal training and experience in the realm of social justice and advocacy. Queen's Law is the only university in Canada with a prison law clinic.

International opportunities[edit]

Queen's Law also offers an increasingly global perspective, including an extensive offering of exchange programs, a continuous stream of visiting scholars and guest lecturers from law schools and legal institutions around the world, and the hallmark International Law Spring Program at the International Study Centre (ISC) at the historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.

The International Law Spring Program at Herstmonceaux Castle offers an intensive and integrated academic program in international law taught by prominent practitioners and academics from around the world. The international law certificate program is split into three streams: International Public Law, International Business Law and Comparative International Law, and is open to accredited law schools in Canada and the United States and international universities with which Queen's is an exchange partner.

Taking advantage of the ISC's location, the International Law Spring Program includes a number of field trips to international institutions in Europe including the World Trade Organization in Geneva, the Canadian Mission to the European Union in Brussels, the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, the United Nations Office in Geneva, and the OECD in Paris, among other key institutions.


Notable Queen's Faculty of Law alumni include:


  • William Lederman – OC (January 6, 1916 – July 26, 1992) was a Canadian constitutional scholar and the first dean of Queen's University Faculty of Law.
  • Nicholas Bala - leading Canadian scholar on Family Law, frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Don Stuart - Leading Canadian scholar on Criminal Law, frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. ^ "Maclean's Law School Ranking 2013". Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  3. ^ http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=1151 Arms and Badge
  4. ^ Queen's class Profile, September 2018
  5. ^ "Canadian Who's Who 1997 entry: David Lloyd Johnston". University of Toronto Press. Queen's Univ. 1966[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°13′39″N 76°29′49″W / 44.2275°N 76.49690°W / 44.2275; -76.49690