In the spring of 1952, Gerald Éric Le Dain and Jacques-Yvan Morin discussed the possibility of establishing a student-run publication that would provide an intellectual forum for Quebec’s legal scholars and students. With the financial support of McGill’s Faculty of Law, and following numerous consultations with faculty and classmates, the McGill Law Journal was born. The Journal’s first issue was published in 1955.
Since its inception, the Journal has served as a source of innovative thought, its contents influencing the contemporary legal and social landscape. The Journal has also exerted influence through its form: it was the first Canadian legal publication to adopt a student-run model at a time when faculty-run legal publications were the norm. In addition, the Journal changed the Canadian legal landscape in 1986 when it published the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, forming the basis for a nationally accepted standard for legal citation. Following this history of innovation, the Journal led the way in 2008 by becoming the first open access publication in Canada, thereby giving free online access to past issues starting with volume 1. (1)
The pedigree of the Journal was built over time by the dedicated efforts of its members, faculty advisors, and published authors and by the support of its readership. Through the publication of special issues and groundbreaking articles addressing significant legal questions and forecasting some of the most important moments in Canadian history, the Journal has provided an invaluable vehicle for substantive debates on such diverse topics as the rule of law, the essence of legal education, civil rights in Canada, equality within Quebec’s educational system, the patriation of the Constitution, disarmament, and women and the law in Canada. The Journal was the first Canadian legal publication to be cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in a judgment. (2)
Today, the McGill Law Journal continues to be at the forefront of both legal scholarship and innovation. With the recent development of a podcast series and an active presence on social media, the Journal has brought its substantive legal discussion to the digital age.
1. Please note that only the article abstracts are available online for the two most recent issues.
2. For the complete list of cited articles from the McGill Law Journal and the cases in which they were cited, see JSP Cummins, The Journal: 60 Years of People, Prose, and Publication (Montreal: 8th House Publishing, 2013).