Future JD Students

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

57 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Phone: 613.562.5800, ext. 3270 | Fax: 613.562.5124
Internet: www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca | E-mail:

View Important Information for Applicants to Ontario Law Schools.


The University of Ottawa is the oldest and largest bilingual university in Canada. Situated in the nation's capital, the university is within walking distance of Parliament, the National Library, National Archives, the Supreme Court of Canada, government departments, and cultural centers such as the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Canada. The nearby Gatineau Hills offer downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, and camping, and all of Ottawa skates on the Rideau Canal.

The Faculty of Law offers both Common Law and Civil Law degrees, preparing graduates for careers in the country's two legal systems. The Common Law Section offers a three-year program in both English and French. The Civil Law Section offers a three-year program in French.

The Common Law Section provides a broad academic and professional education for persons interested in the practice of law, government, international service, legal scholarship, conflict resolution, or any other career where the knowledge of legal principles is an advantage. The curriculum develops analytical, research, and practical skills as well as a disciplined approach to the social and legal problems facing modern society.

The Common Law Section has certain distinctive characteristics. There is a proactive commitment to equity in the hiring practice of staff, in the admission process, and in the curriculum review. There is an emphasis on using a critical approach to legal studies. There is also a commitment to offering the JD degree in both official languages; to developing common law vocabulary, teaching materials, and legal scholarship in French; and to promoting legal services in French in Ontario. In January 2004, the school introduced a new, three-week, intensive January Term. During that period, regularly scheduled classes stop and students are immersed in a full-time, three-week course. Students can choose a course from a complete range of subject matter, methods of instruction, and evaluation. Several of these courses are taught by visiting professors from all over the world.

Enrollment/Student Body

  • English Program—3,500 applications in 2010, 300 first-year places in 2010
  • French Program—200 applications in 2010, 60 first-year places in 2010
  • School totals—1075 full time, 48 half time
  • 1 percent Aboriginal
  • 61 percent women
  • 9 provinces represented


  • 62 full time
  • 33 women tenure or tenure track


The Common Law Section offers a three-year JD program in either English or French. Courses in constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, legal research, legislation, property, torts, civil procedure, and alternative dispute resolution are required. Students must complete a moot court program in their second or third year as well as a major research paper in one of their courses. The balance of the second- and third-year programs are optional courses that can be taken from areas such as feminist studies, Aboriginal issues, gay and lesbian issues, constitutional law, criminal and family law, administrative law, international law, electronic commerce, intellectual property law, human rights issues, business, and tax law.

Persons seeking both a Common Law and Civil Law degree can apply to complete a fourth year conveying a double-degree (LLL/JD). There is also a combined-JD/MBA program offered with the School of Management, a combined JD/MA in international affairs with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, and the Canadian and American dual-JD program with Michigan State University College of Law and American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.

The Programme de droit canadien allows students to earn both degrees (JD and LLL) in three years, thereby opening doors to practice law everywhere in Canada and abroad. This program invites students to take advantage of this innovative and rigorous program to develop critical thinking abilities, creativity, and sensitivity to Canada's legal, linguistic, and cultural diversity. The Programme de droit canadien is primarily offered in French, but knowledge of English is required.

Our graduate studies programs operate in a Faculty of Law that shares the traditions of both civil law and common law, and in which courses are offered in both official languages. This provides the opportunity for constant intellectual exchange and for comparative studies. The latter have become especially important in this era of globalization.

In addition, the programs are offered in a unique legal environment: Canada's capital, the centre of a country open to the world and known for its contribution in the area of human rights.

Finally, Ottawa is a major player in the field of information technology. The head offices of many corporations, which are acknowledged leaders in this field, are located in Ottawa.

For these reasons, the Faculty specializes in advanced studies and research in the following areas: international law, human rights, law and technology, environmental law, and comparative law. Legal training in these areas opens the door to a variety of career opportunities in numerous fields (national and international law firms, civil and foreign service, nongovernmental organizations, teaching, etc.).

However, advanced study and research is not confined to these main categories. Where faculty supervision can be arranged, research can also be undertaken in other areas of expertise.

Education Equity

The Education Equity Office focuses on increasing the participation of persons from groups such as racial and cultural minorities; Aboriginal peoples; lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals; persons with disabilities; and economically disadvantaged persons.

The program involves recruiting and outreach; examining the curriculum to ensure that it does not perpetuate racism, sexism, or other discriminatory attitudes or approaches; and ensuring that all students can participate in both academic and social activities. This can be done through the access category.

Human Rights Centre

The centre promotes human rights through research and education. A chair in human rights brings leading international scholars, experts, and activists to the centre. The resource library contains the country's largest bilingual collection of human rights documents.

Library and Computer Facilities

Faculty and students have access to the Brian Dickson Law Library, which includes an extensive collection of both Common Law and Civil Law material. Containing over 200,000 volumes and 750 periodicals, it includes important collections in comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, international law, and human rights law.

Students can also use other libraries on campus and make arrangements to use the facilities of the libraries in the Supreme Court of Canada, Department of Justice, and the National Library of Canada.

The law library includes two computer laboratories which permit access to the Internet and to online research services such as Quicklaw, LexisNexis, SOQUIJ, and Westlaw. Computer courses introduce computer technology for research purposes as well as the latest developments in support systems for estate law, family law, real estate, and civil litigation. All students are given a computer account. For more information, visit our website at www.biblio.uottawa.ca/section-home.php?g=en&s=ftx&c=home.

Student Activities

A student editorial board under faculty supervision publishes the Ottawa Law Review. A moot court component is part of the second year of the program, and students may participate in several competitive moots with the support of faculty members. The University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic offers services to the public. The Common Law Student Society (CLSS) is the umbrella student association. Several other associations such as the Black Law Students Association, Business Law Students Association, Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights, Criminal Law Students Association, Aboriginal Law Students Association, Information Technology Law Society, and International Law Students Association also flourish.


Applicants must be in their third year of undergraduate studies when applying to law school (three or more years of studies preferred); we strongly encourage students to complete their undergraduate program prior to beginning law school.

  • LSAT required (except in French Program)
  • No set minimum; highest LSAT score used
  • Oldest LSAT accepted—June 2007
  • Application fee—see key facts
  • Rolling admission
  • Application deadline—November 1 (February 1 for the French Program)

The Common Law Section is interested in creating a vital and diverse academic environment and in preparing competent and compassionate professionals. To ensure that the student body represents the fullest possible range of social, economic, ethnic, and cultural perspectives in our society, we consider many factors. Though academic performance, the personal statement, and LSAT scores are significant factors, consideration can be given to an applicant's achievements in extracurricular activities and community work, as well as his or her outstanding achievements in previous careers. Unique linguistic or cultural factors in an applicant's background that add to his or her overall academic achievements, as well as personal challenges such as a physical or learning disability or adverse economic circumstances, are considered.

In addition to the General Category, applicants may apply in one of these categories: Access, Mature, or Aboriginal. Additional information is available in the application kit.

Expenses and Financial Aid

  • Full-time tuition and fees—$13,391.33 + $612.04 (fees) = $14,003.37
  • Text and casebook fees—$1,100
  • Estimated additional expenses—$10,000 to $13,000 (room and board, etc.)
  • Scholarships, need-based bursaries, and prizes available
  • Over $1.5 million in financial aid in 2009/2010

For more information, please visit our website at www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca.

« Return to the Canadian Official Guide homepage

Bookmark and Share