uOttawa Public Law Centre

Welcome to the Public Law Centre at the University of Ottawa. Our faculty has the largest and strongest concentration of public law specialists in Canada.

Public Law at uOttawa

Welcome to the uOttawa Public Law Centre at the Faculty of Law.

The uOttawa Public Law Centre is Canada’s leading centre for public law research, debate and engagement.

The Centre is home to the largest number of public law experts in the country and is located in Canada’s capital, close to key public law institutions such as the Parliament of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Department of Justice and numerous boards, tribunals and agencies.

The Faculty of Law’s civil law and common law sections are known nationally and internationally for their expertise in public law, including in constitutional law, Indigenous legal traditions, administrative law, the law of democracy, immigration and refugee law, criminal law, human rights, comparative public law, critical public law and public law theory.

The Centre is bilingual, multijural and interdisciplinary. It brings together experts from inside the Faculty of Law and the University with domestic and international collaborators, visiting scholars, fellows and affiliated graduate students to create new opportunities for research and engagement across the spectrum of public law and public policy subjects.

The Centre supports and carries out innovative and interdisciplinary research, which it disseminates to diverse audiences in Canada and globally. It leverages its convening power to bring together government representatives and civil society organizations for high-level discussions on public policy issues. And it organizes conferences, seminars and invited lectures that both intervene in current debates and seek to advance those debates. 

The Centre, like the University, is situated on the traditional, unceded land of the Algonquin Nation. The Centre will conduct its activities in acknowledgement of that fact and with a commitment to helping the Faculty of the Law and the University of Ottawa respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Option in Public Law

The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) has introduced a Public Law Option for students enrolled in the JD program. Our Faculty is home to nationally and internationally recognized public law scholars. We offer a rich array of courses in public law and many of our graduates go on to work as public law lawyers.

The concentration will allow students to deepen their knowledge of Aboriginal law, a central part of Canadian public law; to gain practical experience in public law through an internship or similar program; and to expand their knowledge of public law into more specialized areas.


The Option requirements are as follows:

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 18 units in public law, including:
    1. a course in Aboriginal law (3 units);
    2. an applied course in public law (3 units); and
    3. an additional twelve units in public law drawn from an approved list of courses available on the Option website.

    Please note that students must complete 18 units in addition to the 12 mandatory units in public law in which all JD students are required to enroll: CML 1104 Public Law and Legislation; CML 1213 Constitutional Law I; CML 2312 Administrative Law; and CML 2313 Constitutional Law II.  

  2. Students must complete their major paper in either an approved public law course (see the list on the Option’s web site) or in a directed research course on public law.
  3. Students must receive a minimum overall average of 6.0 in their Option courses. This average is calculated by using the results of the courses described in 1(a) and (b) and in the best optional courses.
  4. Students who complete the Option in French must complete the courses described in 1(a) and (b) in French.

Do I register for the Public Law Option before I have completed all the requirements?

No. There is no special procedure to register for the Public Law Option during the regular annual admission process. Once they have completed their first year of legal studies, law students may take the compulsory and optional courses required to satisfy the requirements of the Public Law Option, including a Major Paper in an approved course. Once the requirements have been met, students may visit the Common Law Student Centre to complete and return a form demonstrating that they have met the requirements and wish to have the Public Law option noted as part of their degree, on their transcript. This usually occurs during the winter term of the student's final year of study.

Registering for the Public Law Option once you have completed the requirements

  • JD students who wish to receive formal recognition of an Option in Public Law must complete 18 credits in the field of public law. (See requirements).
  • Once the required units have been achieved, students should obtain the registration form.
  • Students must complete the form to identify which qualifying courses they have completed and to identify their Major Paper.
  • The form must then be signed by the Public Law Option Coordinator, and returned to Common Law Student Centre for processing.

A.   A course in Aboriginal Law:

    • CML 1105  Aboriginal Legal Mechanisms
    • CML 2301  Aboriginal Peoples and the Law
    • CML 2701  Les autochtones et le droit
    • CML 3162  Studies in Aboriginal Law
    • CML 3374  Law and Society: Indigenous Women: Advocacy and Law
    • CML 3901  Problèmes choisis de droit autochtone / Selected problems in Aboriginal Peoples and the Law (Bilingue)
    • CML 4114  Artic Legal Perspectives
    • CML 4163  Comparative Indigenous Rights

    B.   An applied course, internship or practicum selected from the list below or approved by the Option Coordinator as qualifying for the applied course in Public Law:

      • CML 2178  Conviction Review Project I and II
      • CML 2314  Constitutional Litigation
      • CML 3119  Studies in Oral Advocacy: Administrative Law Litigation
      • CML 3152  Supreme Court Seminar
      • CML 3153  Federal Tribunals Practice
      • CML 3155  Legal Drafting
      • CML 3175  Crown Attorney Assignment
      • CML 3176  Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada Internship
      • CML 3177  Department of Justice Internship
      • CML 3178  Conviction Review Project II
      • CML 3174  Dean’s Research and Writing Fellows
      • CML 3180  Environmental Law Clinic
      • CML 3351  Legal Research & Writing: Clerk to the Regional Senior Justice
      • CML 3553  Règles de pratique des tribunaux fédéraux
      • CML 3575  Stage avec un procureur ou une procureure de la Couronne
      • CML 3576  Stage en droit - Affaires étrangères, commerce et développement Canada
      • CML 3577  Stage en droit - Ministère de la Justice
      • CML 4101  Studies in Constitutional Law: Directed Research in Constitutional and Public Law

        C.   Optional courses:  Twelve (12) units from the courses listed above in (A) or (B), or from the courses listed below. Additional courses may be added to this list or approved by the Option    Coordinator.

          Courses offered in the English Common Law Program

          • CML 2301  Aboriginal Peoples and the Law
          • CML 2315  Advanced Constitutional Law and Equality Rights
          • CML 2316  Advanced Constitutional Law and Legal Rights
          • CML 2317  Advanced Problems in Canadian Federalism
          • CML 3113  American Constitutional Law
          • CML 3126  Communications Law
          • CML 3130  International Criminal Law
          • CML 3131  Public International Law
          • CML 3144  Defending Battered Women on Trial
          • CML 3146  Sexual Assault Law
          • CML 3147  Wrongful Convictions
          • CML 3149  Canadian Military Law
          • CML 3150  Race, Racism and the Law
          • CML 3151  Access to Health Care
          • CML 3152  Supreme Court Seminar
          • CML 3153  Federal Tribunals Practice
          • CML 3155  Legal Drafting
          • CML 3160  Advanced Criminal Procedure
          • CML 3162  Studies in Aboriginal Law
          • CML 3163  The Law of the Sea
          • CML 3180  Environmental Law Clinic
          • CML 3181  Sexuality, Gender and the Law
          • CML 3182  Water Law
          • CML 3203  Municipal and Planning Law
          • CML 3213  Statutory Interpretation
          • CML 3214  Legislative and Regulatory Process
          • CML 3228  Comparative Constitutional Law
          • CML 3233  Labour Law I
          • CML 3234  Labour Law II
          • CML 3244  Delegated Legislation and other Regulatory Instruments
          • CML 3253  Competition Law
          • CML 3304  Taxation
          • CML 3305  Privacy Law
          • CML 3352  International Criminal Law
          • CML 3356  National Security Law
          • CML 3357  Community Planning
          • CML 3360  Securities Regulation
          • CML 3364  Advanced Problems in Administrative Law
          • CML 3365  Civil Liberties
          • CML 3369  Environmental Law
          • CML 3373  Labour Law III
          • CML 3383  Advanced Taxation
          • CML 3390  Law and Policy
          • CML 3395  Regulation of Internet Communication
          • CML 3397  Immigration and Refugee Law
          • CML 3398  Human Rights Laws in Canada
          • CML 3399  Human Rights (International Protection)
          • CML 4101  Studies in Constitutional Law
          • CML 4102  Current Trends in the Practice of Federal Law
          • CML 4103  Studies in Administrative Law
          • CML 4104  Studies in Public Law
          • CML 4111  Studies in Criminal Law
          • CML 4116  Advanced Refugee Law
          • CML 4130  Natural Resources Law
          • CML 4162  Advanced Aboriginal Law
          • CML 4163  Comparative Indigenous Rights
          • CML 4900  Current Canadian Constitutional Issues

          Courses offered in the French Common Law Program

          • CML 2714  Théorie du droit constitutionnel
          • CML 2715  Droit constitutionnel approfondi: Les droits à l'égalité
          • CML 2716  Droit constitutionnel approfondi: Les garanties juridiques
          • CML 2717  Problèmes du fédéralisme canadien
          • CML 3503  Droit municipal
          • CML 3526  Droit des communications
          • CML 3531  Droit international public
          • CML 3533  Droit du travail I
          • CML 3534  Droit du travail II : Arbitrage de griefs
          • CML 3560  Procédure pénale approfondie
          • CML 3564  Droit administratif approfondi
          • CML 3765  Libertés publiques
          • CML 3769  Droit de l’environnement
          • CML 3773  Droit du travail III
          • CML 3797  Droit de l'immigration et des réfugiés
          • CML 4501  Études en droit constitutionnel
          • CML 4502  Études en administration de la justice
          • CML 4503  Études en droit administratif  
          • CML 4504  Études en droit  public
          • CML 4505  Études en matière de réglementation
          • CML 4519  Les droit linguistiques au Canada
          • CML 4520  Droit pénal international
          • CML 4530  Droit des ressources naturelles
          • CML 4700  Problèmes constitutionnels canadiens

            The Major Paper requirement must be completed in either a required or an optional course listed above or in Directed Research courses, as approved by the Option Coordinator:                     

              • CML 3251  Legal Research and Writing (Selected Problems) (4 units) or
              • CML 3351  Legal Research and Writing (Selected Problems) (3 units) 

              The major paper must be at least 50 per cent of final mark.

              For more information, please contact Yan Campagnolo, Option Coordinator.

              Graduate Studies

              The University of Ottawa offers programs in law at the master’s and doctoral levels. Our programs provide students with an opportunity to work with Canada’s top public law scholars on core questions of public law as well as on emerging and evolving issues.

              Master of Laws (LLM)

              The LL.M. program facilitates rigorous academic study of pressing public questions. To learn more, we invite you to read about the degree requirements and faculty members working in this field.

              Ph.D. Students

              The Ph.D. degree provides students with advanced training in academic research to prepare them to pursue a career in academe. These research skills can also be used to pursue careers with governmental and non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and other policy organizations. The admission process is competitive and only the most outstanding applicants are selected. For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. program, please click here.

              Contact Us

              Contact information


              Prof. Vanessa MacDonnell
              Prof. David Robitaille

              Public Law Option Coordinator
              Prof. Yan Campagnolo


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