University of Ottawa Law Review

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
Motto Deus Scientiarum Dominus Est
Established 1953
School type Public
Parent endowment $201.2 Million[1]

Nathalie Des Rosiers, LL.B. (Montréal); LL.M. (Harvard) [Common Law Section]

Céline Lévesque, LL.L. (Ottawa); LL.B. (Dalhousie); LL.M (Collège d'Europe); M.A. (George Washington) [Civil Law Section]
Location Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Enrollment 1168
Faculty 69
Fauteux Hall is home to the Faculty of Law

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (U of O Law, uOttawa Law, or Ottawa Law) is the law school at the University of Ottawa, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the nation's 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 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).

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 Civil Law[4] 3
Maclean's Common Law[4] 10

Maclean's released its annual law school ranking on September 19, 2013. In the evaluation, Ottawa's Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) was ranked 10th overall in Canada, scoring particularly well (3rd overall) in the category for Supreme Court clerkships [5] In addition, Canadian Lawyer ranked the school as 5th-best in the country. The Civil Law Section was ranked 3rd in Canada.[6] Furthermore, in the 2009 Law School Student Survey which ranks student satisfaction, the Faculty of Law was ranked amongst the best, with an overwhelming 97% of students saying they would choose the Ottawa Law School all over again if they had the 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. 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 traditions in Canada.

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 for the Ian G. Scott Courtroom across the street from the main Faculty of Law building is now complete. The new courtroom is 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

Third floor, Fauteux Hall

In the Common Law Section, which offers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree 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 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 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, for the English-language Common Law Program, there were 3469 applications for 280 first year places in 2009. The French-language Common Law Program admits up to 60 new students each year.

Civil Law Section

Tsampalieros Atrium, Fauteux Hall

In the Civil Law Section (which teaches the legal tradition used in the Province of Quebec), it is only necessary for an applicant 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. Nevertheless, an A- (80%) average is now required for university applicants. If a student is applying directly from CEGEP, however, the requirements are usually higher.[10] The Civil Law Section typically admits around 150 students each year.

Language Requirements

The language of instruction depends on the program; while the Civil Law Program is instructed entirely in French, the Common Law Program is available in both English and French, allowing students to 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 be submitted in French.


Students graduating in the Common Law Section receive the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, while students in the Civil Law Section receive the Licentiate in 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) [1]. With respect to graduate work, the Faculty of Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree as well as a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree, offered by both sections.

Joint Programs

A bilingual program, the Programme de Droit Canadien (PDC), allows eighteen to twenty exceptional students to earn both a J.D. and an LL.L., simultaneously, in three years. In addition, the National Program also allows students in both Sections to complete the other's degree, in a total, however, of four years (after completion of a Civil Law degree, for example, students are permitted to 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:

The Norton Rose Classroom
  • 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.
  • 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; or National program in four years.
  • J.D. Program in conjunction with the Akitsiraq Law School, planned for June 2010.

Tuition fees

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 2014-2015 are $16,772.40. Students in the National Program pay $10,077.70 for their extra year of study.[11] Students enrolled in the joint J.D./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]

Notable alumni

Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada




See also


  1. ^ "Quick Facts 2014". University of Ottawa Media Room. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ [6]
  12. ^ [7]

External links

  • Section de Common Law -- Common Law Section
  • Section Droit Civil -- Civil Law Section
  • Brian Dickson Law Library Library of the Faculty of Law, named after former Supreme Court of Canada Chief justice Brian Dickson.
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