The Juris Doctor (JD) is a second-entry professional degree in common law. It is normally completed in three academic years of full-time study1. It is the basis of admission for registration into the licensing process to practice law for each province of Canada, except Quebec, which practices civil law. Through partnership with the Faculty of Law at the University of Sherbrooke, it is possible for Queen’s students to obtain a civil law degree in a single academic year, following graduation with the JD at Queen’s University.
Each student is responsible for becoming informed about all Faculty rules and regulations pertaining to degree requirements and determination of standing, regulations and policies regarding examinations and written course work, and course selection.
The Queen’s University Senate approved a change to the designation from the Bachelor of Laws degree to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree on February 28, 2008.
Part-Time JD Program
In exceptional circumstances, the Academic Standing and Policies Committee may waive this requirement.
Part-time JD or combined JD students will be subject to the same grading policy and minimum academic standing requirements as full-time students.
Part-time students may request a change in status to full-time prior to the commencement of any academic term and may thereafter a return to part-time for any subsequent term or terms.
During the first year, part-time law students will be assigned to a small section and be expected to complete the legal skills and Legal Foundations Program.
In following years, part-time students are required to arrange their course registrations in the first-year courses required to complete the mandatory first-year curriculum with the JD Program Coordinator. Once the first-year courses are manually processed, registration in upper-year courses will be done electronically during the regular course registration times and open enrollment periods.
Part-time Performance Requirement
Part-time students will be expected to register in 7 to 13 units of credit per term to preserve eligibility for merit-based awards not requiring full-time status. Permission may be sought to register in a course under-load from the Academic Standing and Policies Committee or from the Assistant Dean JD and Graduate Studies as delegate of the Academic Standing and Policies Committee. A part-time student normally will not be permitted to register in fewer than 7 credits in a term unless fewer than 7 credits are required to complete degree requirements. Difficult issues pertaining to course-load or registration status will be decided by the Academic Standing and Policies Committee.
Students must have completed the pre-requisite courses in order to obtain registration in certain upper-year courses.
Part-time students may not register in courses satisfying the Advocacy degree requirement until after they have completed the first-year compulsory curriculum and completed any pre-requisite courses.
Mandatory Course Requirements (36 credits)
|LAW 135||Introduction to Legal Skills||4.00|
|LAW 140||Public Law||4.00|
|LAW 150||Constitutional Law||4.00|
|LAW 170||Criminal Law||6.00|
Each upper-year student is required to successfully complete all of the degree requirements: Credit Requirement, Overall Residency Requirement, Mandatory Course Requirement, Substantial Term Paper Requirement, Practice Skills Requirement and Advocacy Requirement.
1 (a) Credit Requirement
A student must successfully complete a minimum of 59 upper-year credits to satisfy the course credit requirement for graduation. Details of the courses offered and their credit value are posted on the Faculty of Law website. Students cannot take courses in the Undergraduate Certificate in Law Program.
1 (b) Overall Residency Requirement
A Queen's JD degree will be granted to a student who successfully completes all first-year law courses and a minimum of 59 upper-year credits. The first-year courses and a minimum of 28 upper-year credits must be taken as Queen's JD courses in residence at Queen's Faculty of Law. The BISC Summer Program in International Law is considered in residence at Queen's Faculty of Law.
Any combination of exchange credits, letter of permission credits or non-law courses cannot exceed the equivalent of one year of study (28-34 upper year credits).
Students who transfer into the Queen's Law program after successfully completing first year at another Canadian university must complete a minimum of 59 upper-year credits in residence at the Faculty of Law at Queen's
1 (c) Mandatory Course Requirements
1 (d) Substantial Term Paper Requirement
During their upper years, students must write a substantial term paper that demonstrates their ability:
- to conduct advanced legal research;
- to write clearly and concisely;
- to articulate and develop a thesis; and
- to engage in sustained analysis of the law in a particular area.
A substantial term paper should be 25-30 pages in length and written in a course taught by a full-time faculty member or graded by a fulltime faculty member. Upon completion of the paper, the student should notify the supervising faculty member of their intent to fulfill the requirement. The faculty member will confirm completion with Student Services. Satisfaction of the Substantial Term Paper Requirement will be indicated on a student's official academic record by a P (pass) notation in respect to LAW-299 Substantial Term Paper. This course number carries neither a credit value nor a credit weight.
Individual Supervised Projects (LAW 490 Individual Supervised Project) : An Individual Supervised Project (ISP) must be supervised by a full-time faculty member with a research appointment. An ISP involves a student writing a research paper on a topic to be agreed upon with the faculty member. ISPs should be reserved for topics that are not otherwise offered as a course. Students must ensure the project and supervision are approved through the process set by the Associate Dean (Faculty Relations). As a rough guide, ISP papers are expected to be approximately 25-30 pages in length, and should involve comparable student workload input to the student taking a traditional 2 credit course (though exact page length and project expectations are to be worked out between the supervisor and student). An ISP typically counts for 2 credits. In exceptional circumstances, more ambitious projects for 3 credits may be approved by the Associate Dean (Academic). Other than in the case of exceptional circumstances, students will be limited to one ISP during their JD studies. Any request for a second ISP must be approved by the Associate Dean (Academic). An ISP may satisfy the Substantial Term Paper Requirement, although this should be discussed by the student and faculty member when the arrangements are initially being made for an ISP. ISPs should not be earned or stacked in conjunction with other, different credit-earning activities (i.e. other courses, moots, journals or experiential activities). They are expected to be standalone research projects.
1 (e) Practice Skills Requirement
Students are required to successfully complete at least three credits in courses designated as Practice Skills courses. A Practice Skills course gives students significant opportunity to undertake legal research and to develop skills of drafting, client interaction, negotiation or mediation, or offers students a clinical legal experience. Examples include Negotiations, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Advanced Legal Research, Law Journals and Clinical Courses. Other courses may be designated by the instructor. A student may not satisfy both the Advocacy Requirement and Practice Skills Requirement in one course. Please check the Queen’s Law Website for the most up to date information.
1 (f) Advocacy Requirement
Students are required to successfully complete at least three credits in advocacy or a substantive course which involves participation in oral advocacy or mooting as certified by the instructor. Examples include Trial Advocacy, Estate Litigation, Appellate Advocacy and Clinical Courses. Other courses may be designated by the instructor. A student may not satisfy both the Advocacy Requirement and Practice Skills Requirement in one course. Please check the Queen’s Law Website for the most up to date information.
Experiential Learning Policy
During their upper year studies, JD students are required to successfully complete at least three credits in courses designated as Practice Skills courses and at least three credits in courses that satisfy the Advocacy requirement. The original policy setting out practice skills requirements for students was established by Faculty Board on 5 March 1998. Since the adoption of this policy, Queen’s Law has seen a significant increase in the number and types of practice skills and other learning opportunities that fall outside of the traditional lecture/seminar framework for legal education. In response to the growing interest and demand for experiential learning, Faculty Board modified the original policy on 25 March 2022, setting out limits for experiential learning as reflected in the matrix below. This policy is reviewed by the Associate Dean (Academic Policy) and Assistant Dean JD and Graduate Studies on an annual basis.
Please refer to the Faculty of Law Academic Calendar, page 19, for the matrix.