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Queen's University Faculty of Law

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The Queen's University Faculty of Law is a professional faculty of Queen's University 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.

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, which 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.


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. 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."