Journal History

The Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies has celebrated excellence in student legal scholarship for over 24 years.

The DJLS, as it is affectionately known, was established on October 17, 1991 by its first editor Ryerson Symons. Symons had completed a degree in law at the University of Oxford before coming to Dalhousie University to earn a Canadian degree for admission to the bar in North America. During that time, Symons laid the ground work for what has become the largest and one of the most respected student societies at Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law.

The first volume of the DJLS was published in Spring 1992, after many months of student labour. The issue featured articles, case notes and comments, as well as book reviews. At the time, it was only the second legal Journal in Canada published entirely by students.

Much has changed since those early days. The Journal has moved away from book reviews, choosing to focus instead on compelling articles and case comments. However, the core ethos of the Journal remains unchanged: we seek to publish only the best legal scholarship written by current law students and recent graduates from Canada and internationally.

An important part of that mission is our blind-review reading group process, which depends on the contributions of 80 student volunteers every year at the Schulich School of Law. Equally important is recognizing the best students for their scholarship. To that end, the DJLS awards more than $2,000 to our published authors every year.

The DJLS has received many accolades over the years. Our Journal has been cited by Canadian courts across the country, including a 1996 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada: See Ross v New Brunswick School District No 15, [1996] 1 SCR 825 at para 43, 1996 CanLII 237 (SCC). More recently, we were selected by Dean of the Schulich School of Law as Best Student Society 2012-2013 in recognition of our contribution to the school's academic and social life.

In 2013, the DJLS launched the inaugural Think Tank Student Legal Research Conference. Select Dalhousie students pursuing their J.D., LL.M., or J.S.D. presented their research on a current legal topic. Presenters were paired with faculty members who provided feedback following their presentations. The student with the top presentation received a cash prize and the opportunity to publish his research in Volume 22 of the Journal.

Today, the Journal remains an independent, non-profit, entirely student-run society. We publish on an annual basis in print and online. The DJLS is headquartered at Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

If you have any questions about us or what we do, contact us.