International Law in the Nation's Capital

 The uOttawa Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, is one of Canada's most prominent international law faculties. Located in the heart of Canada's capital city, the law school is at the geographic and intellectual centre of international law, as it is practiced in Canada. Operating in both official languages and minutes from Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada, the law school is also near key federal government departments, such as Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Defence and Justice, as well as foreign embassies and international non-governmental organizations.

By positioning itself at the centre of international law teaching and research, the law school attracts a dynamic international law faculty, drawing on the rich academic, professional and governmental resources of the nation's capital and on visiting academics and practitioners from around the world. Thus, the law school’s international law instructors are professors, government lawyers, visiting international scholars and others with a rich level of practical and academic experience in the field. For these reasons, the law school offers a comprehensive catalogue of some 30 international law-related courses in English and French, supplemented by numerous established internships, research projects and moot court competitions. It now also offers a course concentration Option in International Law.

The law school is also proud to offer two joint degrees with an international focus: a joint M.A./J.D., focusing on international law and international relations, in partnership with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University; and, joint J.D./LL.B. degrees offered in conjunction with American University, Washington D.C. and the Michigan State University, East Lansing Michigan. Students may also enrol in the Faculty of Law's National Program, providing the opportunity to study law in both the common law and civil law traditions, in either of Canada’s official languages. The University of Ottawa also has exchange programs with several other law schools with strengths in international law, both generally and through the North American Consortium on Legal Education.

The uOttawa Faculty of Law is also home to an internationally-respected Human Rights Research and Education Centre. Along with Carleton University, it is also a partner in the Centre for Trade Policy and Law. Students from across the country and around the world are attracted to the uOttawa Faculty of Law to pursue the study of international law. The International Law Students Association (Ottawa) is the largest issue-based student organization in the law school, complemented by student chapters of Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights and Pro Bono Students Canada.  

Why Study International Law?

 International law is an increasingly important area of legal study and practice. The pressures of globalization have produced, on the one hand, new levels of international legal harmonization and interconnection, and, on the other, new tensions in international law and affairs. In this environment, the study of international law has become essential for those who will practice law in the 21st century.

The scope of international law has changed dramatically since the end of the Second World War. Since that time, there has been an explosion of international legal instruments dealing with matters as diverse as human rights, economic and social development, the environment and trade.

Globalization has enhanced the relevance of these international laws. It has also internationalized many issues once of only domestic concern, eroding some traditional barriers of state sovereignty. Canada’s laws themselves are increasingly a hybrid of purely domestic regulations and laws implementing international obligations.

Knowledge of international law allows students to respond effectively to these developments, and provides insight and skills beneficial in a wide variety of fora, both domestic and international. Reflecting its continued and growing importance, career opportunities involving the application of international law range from traditional legal practice through to work with international organizations and government policy-making.

For information on admission to the law faculty, please contact comlaw@uOttawa.ca or 613-562-5800 ext. 3270. For  further information on the Option in International Law, please do not hesitate to contact Maxime Bourgeois, International Law Coordinator, by email at internat@uOttawa.ca or by telephone at 613-562-5800 ext. 3294.  

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