The University of Western Ontario’s law school has a new student-run online law review. The Journal of Legal Studies published its first issue on Jan. 20.
“The UWO Journal of Legal Studies is an opportunity for the students of Western law to participate in the development of Canadian legal scholarship at all stages of the editing process,” says co-editor-in-chief Lisa Di Valentino.
The law review’s first issue includes original articles on niqab bans and Quebec identity, personality rights across Canada, and the failings of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct to guide family law lawyers through acrimonious disputes.
The journal is a student-driven initiative. The planning of the first issue began in 2009, with the faculty approving the students’ proposal to have an e-journal in February 2011. The first call for submissions was announced shortly after. Before the journal’s formation, Western law did not have an active student-run law review that let students direct all aspects of the publication process and submit their work for publication.
“After some time of general discussion about Western’s lack of a student-run law review, the Western Law Review Association was officially formed in 2009 to 2010 with the goal of creating one,” says co-editor-in-chief Benjamin Tinholt.
“The emergence of e-journals as a legitimate and accepted form for academic reviews meant that the students could utilize this format as a means of overcoming the otherwise prohibitive costs of founding a new law review in traditional paper form. This issue is the result of more than three years of hard work of dozens of students and supportive faculty members.”
The first attempt to set up a student-run law review at Western law was in 1961 with the publication of the first official volume of Western Law Review. The name was later changed to Western Ontario Law Review in 1967 and to University of Western Ontario Law Review in 1976. With the second volume, Western law was “dedicated to the intermingling of first rate student, faculty and professional legal thinking,” according to the editor’s forward. The final issue was published in 1986-87.
At the same time, a new journal was introduced, the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. CJLJ is an active law review at Western law but is mainly oriented towards faculty and legal professionals. It also has a more narrow focus and “preference is often given to those essays that are directed to somewhat more concrete legal matters and do so in a philosophical way,” says its web site.
The Journal of Legal Studies will be published twice a year, in January and June, and is currently seeking submissions from law students across Canada for its next issue.
Anastasia Pasecinic is currently completing her MLS at the University of Western Ontario and is an executive editor of the Journal of Legal Studies.