The Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law is also outstanding in its field, because of its two world-class research centres: one specializing in public law and the other specializing in business law and international trade.
The Faculty of Law is also home to seven chairs and nine research groups. In addition to contributing to the Faculty’s dynamic, intellectual reputation, the chairs also support our many graduate-level students.
Research Chairs and Groups
The ADAJ project is a major research consortium dedicated to access to law and justice (accès au droit et à la justice). Led by Professor Pierre Noreau of the Université de Montréal, the ADAJ team comprises 42 researchers and collaborators from nine universities and 44 justice partners. This includes, most notably, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Quebec, as well as the Quebec Minister of Justice, numerous local legal clinics, the Barreau du Québec, the Quebec Chamber of Notaries, SOQUIJ and Éducaloi.
Divided into three broad orientations, the research arm is pursuing 20 projects that address access to law and justice, as well as the development of innovative practices that are elaborated and implemented with partners. These various projects enable experimentation with alternative practices and the development of an open concept to law.
The Centre de droit des affaires et du commerce international (CDACI) is a keen observer of all major developments in business and international law. CDACI not only specializes in research in the fields of conflict resolution, economic analysis of law, securities law and electronic commerce law, but has now also broadened its sphere of interest to target three additional research orientations, namely:
- Company and financial market governance
- Law and international economic relations
- Law and development
Located in Montreal’s financial district, CDACI also has a presence in the rest of the French-speaking world thanks to partnerships with French university research centres and a strong reputation in North Africa. It is currently working towards establishing new partnerships with Chinese and South American research centres.
The general objective of the Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health and Law Policy is to attain an improved understanding of and to create a model of the collaborative challenges in health care systems: an issue that has concrete and significant implications for the viability of such systems. The Chair’s foundational research component seeks a deeper understanding of the challenges and factors relating to collaboration in health care systems. Understanding such collaboration factors bears direct fruit in crafting public policies in that it enables a social regulation activity based on a more accurate analysis of factors that inhibit or favour desired collaborations in health care systems. The Chair’s applied research component incorporates the collaborative model derived from its foundational research component to a variety of specific projects, such as: emerging private-public partnerships for financing and supply of care and services; mechanisms for the prevention and regulation of disputes that should bolster collaborative governance; and interprofessional and institutional collaboration in the health care sector.
In addition to its scientific contributions, the Chair serves as springboard to communicate ideas, provoke debates and invite new collaborations. The Chair presents a stimulating environment for the education of students and the training of postdoctoral researchers in health care law and policies and convenes stakeholders from the academic, professional, governmental, corporate and civil society spheres in the collaboration quest.
The mission of the Chair is to support the development and reputation of the notarial institution and profession. Means employed to this end include undertaking studies, communicating information through a website, organizing conferences, awarding bursaries and promoting international exchanges. Researchers focus in their work on matrimonial property law, child law, co-ownership law, succession law, fiscal law, private international law and the Notarial Code of Professional Conduct.
To enhance the exchange of ideas and support scientific research, the Chair promotes the notarial profession and institution among students through its support of the legal aid clinic, which brings students into contact with certain aspects of notarial practice. The Chair contributes to the financial support of students through three prizes in recognition of excellence that are awarded to the students who obtain the highest marks in the Notarial Certificate, as well a scholarship awarded to a student holding a Notarial Certificate and who is embarking on a Master’s degree at the Université de Montréal. The Chair also holds two interuniversity legal writing competitions (aimed at undergraduate and graduate students) on a topic of interest in the notarial field.
The Chair in Governance and Business Law was created in 2005 to develop the Faculty of Law’s capacities for research and training in the field of business law.
The Chair’s objectives are to:
- Study how existing laws adapt to provide a framework for commercial activities
- Study issues relating to business law and international commerce, and propose solutions that can effectively respond to these problems
- Provide training for jurists and researchers on the front line, making them better able to face competition and become leaders in their fields
- Share knowledge and foster cooperation between domains with leading figures in business law and international commerce
The Chair embraces the following values:
- Scientific rigour: Maintain the high quality standards that are de rigueur for university research, notably for debates, exchanges and testing hypotheses using scientific methods, both qualitative and quantitative
- Pertinence: Undertake related projects and activities in both the university and professional communities, in order to contribute to discussions and debates
- Independence: Lead research projects and activities without bias, and with integrity and intellectual transparency
- Pragmatism: Leverage research and training activities to provide solutions to the challenges faced by professionals and business people
Ultimately, the Chair seeks to offer a forum for discussion and research that will improve the quality of business law.
The Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Law has had its home at the Faculty of Law since September 2008. The Chair, associated with the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), is under the direction of Professor Nanette Neuwahl, a specialist in European Union law. It seeks to remedy the lack of courses in European Union law in Quebec and Canada, as well as provide the tools that students will need to pursue graduate studies in this discipline. This engagement is the first of its kind in Canada.
As explained by Professor Neuwahl, the Chair’s activities support the Faculty of Law’s goal to prepare students for an international career, enabling them to practice law in Canada, the United States and abroad, specifically Europe. The Chair strives to diversify the course offering in European Union law for both undergraduate and graduate students. Moreover, the Chair gets young researchers involved in a series of new activities on European Union or comparative law that could connect them with specialized international professors.
The main objective of the Chair is to raise the profile of civil law at the Faculty of Law and thereby to promote the teaching of and research in civil law. Interest income earned by the Trust sustains and promotes various objectives:
- Arranging for Canadian or foreign civil law professors to visit the Faculty in the framework of teaching at the Master’s or Doctoral level, or organizing research activities that focus purely on civil law;
- Enhancing the research activities of the Chair’s incumbent, especially through the employment of research assistants; and
- Providing financial support for holding conferences, symposia, seminars or congresses on civil law topics.
The Chair’s secondary objective is to contribute to the education of the next generation of professors in civil law by awarding scholarships to doctoral students enrolled in civil law studies at the Université de Montréal.
The L.R. Wilson Chair in Information Technology and E-Commerce Law studies how changes in the law and other norms can facilitate interactions in cyberspace. It seeks to better understand how existing laws and other standards of conduct adapt to and develop updated strategies to ensure the proper functioning of e-commerce activities and other online exchanges.
The mission of the Chair is to reinforce and consolidate its research capacities in the field of information technology and e-commerce law.
The Chair’s objectives are to:
- Increase knowledge and understanding of factors that play a role in developing and declaring rules of conduct in cyberspace
- Increase knowledge of legal rules implemented by individual States and by other bodies that develop rules of conduct
- Increase expertise in contracts, intellectual property, human rights, and conflict prevention/resolution in virtual environments
- Ensure a better understanding of the legal framework for e-commerce transactions and other online exchanges
- Study the models for rules of conduct that are emerging from commercial practices and e-commerce transactions, and compare these practices in order to identify trends that may influence the development of winning strategies for the regulation of interactions in cyberspace
Contribute to the implementation of unique tools, such as mediation services or online arbitration, that have been adapted to the dynamics of cyberspace
The academic objectives of the Chair are to enhance work and activities that facilitate access to justice and to the law and that touch on issues pertaining recourse related to information technology in the legal world. Socio- and technical-legal challenges in matters related to cyberjustice therefore form the core of the Chair’s research program.
The Cyberjustice Laboratory, in consultation with key stakeholders from the legal community (judges, lawyers, administrators, etc.), develops software modules that have been adapted to the needs of the legal system for purposes of improving procedures. By taking advantage of technological advances, the objective is to make judicial practices more accessible and efficient, with the capacity to eventually reengineer current legal proceedings. All these modules are developed in ""open-source code"", which facilitates their dissemination and allows users to custom adapt the software for their own purposes. The challenge is to develop a new generation of open-source interoperable software tools that will facilitate dealing with and resolving judicial and extrajudicial conflicts, taking into account the complexity of the legal parameters at play. The Laboratory’s infrastructure currently consists of programmers, system architects and various professionals involved in the project. These professionals implement the software applications that have been designed, discussed and tested in the virtual courtroom.
The Cyberjustice Laboratory also serves as a resource for an interdisciplinary group of international researchers who are engaged in an extensive study into changes in habitual conduct of key players involved in the evolution of procedural law. The work and analysis will establish the extent to which the digitalizing justice can facilitate access to it and increase its efficacy, and then to identify the limits of digitalization in terms of values upheld by the principles of procedural law and established judicial practices. The goal is to better understand the parameters of procedural law, and to provide the tools necessary to define socio-legal boundaries that need to be respected in the development of legal technology. This scientific approach should foster the integration of such technologies in the classroom, as well as its acceptance by the legal community and the public.
List of projects:
- Rethinking procedural law: towards cyberjustice
- Judicial practices
- Making cyberjustice secure
- ODR : Online platform to support conflict resolution
A new Class Actions Lab, founded and led by Professor Catherine Piché, was recently launched in the Faculty. The Laboratory hired two students over the summer of 2015: Charles-Antoine Péladeau, a Master’s student and third-year student Hugo Vaillancourt.
Why a Laboratory?
Thirty years ago, Quebec became the first Canadian province to adopt legislation governing and guiding collective legal recourse. Over the years, class action suits (“les recours collectifs”) have become a powerful instrument for defending the rights of consumers, for enabling access to justice and in the pursuit of democracy. In the New Code of Civil Procedure that will come into effect in Quebec in 2016, the terminology “l’action collective” (“class action”) is employed. It has also become the ultimate procedural tool, allowing both for substantial savings from a procedural and judicial perspective and serving as a deterrent to those who engage in abusive, illegal and anti-competitive commercial practices. Each year, class action settlements provide compensation to hundreds, thousands, even millions of plaintiffs. It is a promising sector within the national and international scope; the class action rights are both exciting and fascinating in terms of theory and practice.
Professor Catherine Piché accordingly sought to create a research laboratory with the objective of exploring in depth questions such as these to the benefit of Quebec society and its citizens.
Discussion and debate
The primary objective of the Laboratory is to allow for discussion and debate among practitioners, thinkers, researchers and judges interested in law and the practice of class actions in Quebec, Canada and beyond. In this regard, the Class Actions Lab will act as a platform for communication, for the exchange of information and as a meeting place. It will serve as a think tank for the reform of laws governing class actions both here and around the world. The Laboratory's activities will include the creation of a database indexing all pertinent Canadian judgments, the publication of scholarly articles, the launch of a blog to facilitate the exchange of information and communications between specialists worldwide, and the organization of meetings for discussion and debate.
Data, statistics and documentation
The Class Actions Lab will also facilitate the collection of court data and statistics as well as documentation on collective actions rights and practice, and the dissemination of information relating to class actions’ theoretical and empirical dimensions. The Laboratory will thus conduct empirical research on class action practices, creating pilot projects around such practices in the process.
Training and research
In addition, the Class Actions Lab will encourage teaching on class actions law in Quebec and elsewhere at both the undergraduate and graduate level. This implies the hiring of teaching and research assistants and the development of programs, certificates or specializations in the field. It will also lead to the organization of conferences and colloquia, as well as the funding of fellowships at UdeM for visiting professors and specialists from abroad. Moreover, there may be funding for specialized studies in the field of class actions law, in addition to scholarships for undergraduates and graduates in the form of competitions rewarding excellence.
Legal aid clinic
Finally, the Class Actions Lab envisages the establishment and implementation of a legal aid clinic-type program where students would be involved in real class-action cases. This type of clinic would both contribute to the development of legal expertise in the field and to Faculty programs for the provision of pro bono legal services.
While the Laboratory currently receives funding in the amount of $82,000 over three years, it is actively seeking long-term financing. Several funding agencies have guaranteed grants to Professor Piché: the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) (Student- Researchers program), the Claude Masse Foundation as well as Les Fonds Pineau, Éditions Themis and Georg Stellari of the Université de Montréal. These research funds are intended for a class action project that will conduct empirical research work in Quebec and Ontario.
To learn more
For more information on the work of the Laboratory, we invite you to familiarize yourself with the activities of the Class Actions Lab.
Context: Negotiations for the signing of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union (CETA) have not only revived the debate on the relevance of liberalization, they have also raised fears, many of which are legitimate. Others are questionable, even unreasonable. CETA is evolving within the context of the worldwide proliferation of regional trade agreements for the “new generation” whose application in different areas continues to expand while the ability of different member states to apply regulatory measures diminishes as a result. This atrophy of regulatory power combined with the growing inability of states to deal individually with the economic and social challenges they face only serves to reinforce such fears.
Role: The Observatory is interested in the impact of economic integration on domestic and comparative law. As an established centre of excellence, the Observatory brings together national and international researchers from different backgrounds. It is a centre for training and research that promotes scientific exchanges and cooperation between researchers, students, members of civil society and the business world.
The mission of the Observatory is to monitor developments in the field of national security measures, be it in regard to terrorism (national, international), intelligence, or more widely.
Moreover, it concerns in particular legislative initiative and amendments, such as Bill C-51 in 2015, as well as new statutory provisions in the Criminal Code (especially mandatory minimum sentences) and in the State Immunity Act (exception for terrorist activities).
In addition to being a resource for relevant documents on these issues, this bilingual website is used to accompany the teaching of courses and seminars on the subject of national security, including with its blog.
Established in 2005 and composed of a team of researchers and professionals representing a diverse cross-section of the law, the Observatory for Access to Law and Justice aims to achieve three main objectives:
- To empirically document the current position insofar as justice in Quebec is concerned;
- To reflect on the general principles underlying access to justice;
- To propose effective and viable solutions to the contemporary issue of access to justice.
Through an increased understanding of the justice system by the public and the development of legal knowledge, the Observatory seeks to make the principles of justice more accessible by enhancing communication between those who practice law and those who may avail themselves of that expertise.
The members of the Observatory work to provide solutions to problems of justice while staying true to certain basic norms: proposed changes should take account of citizens' needs and be made within empirical perspectives that correspond to the everyday reality of courts and defendants. Similarly, these changes are to be considered within the context of concrete and clearly defined pilot projects, and must reflect a broad consensus among the legal community of the court in question. Finally, all projects are subject to a systematic evaluation with mechanisms for measuring results and preconditions for success.
The Observatory for Access to Law and Justice aims to provide guidance to the Quebec justice system.
The Observatory’s mission is to promote access to information related to the fundamental and dynamic field of language rights. Mainly devoted to the political and legal issues surrounding official language minorities in Canada, the Observatory also explores the evolution of the country’s unique diversity and its indigenous issues. For obvious reasons, the particularities of Quebec’s linguistic situation is the subject of detailed analyses.
Hosted by the Université de Montréal’s Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), this scientific platform seeks to collect and disseminate all information concerning language rights of communities being impacted by new paradigms in this field. In addition to compiling an exhaustive list of pertinent legislation, relevant case law and doctrinal works, the Observatory is also responsible for ensuring the organization of various educational and scientific events, such as symposia and seminars.
Active and engaged on both traditional and social media platforms, the Observatory’s members also participate in events addressing the language issue that are held outside the traditional academic framework. Media monitoring, combined with a blog that is run by our directors and open to researchers and correspondents alike, optimizes the quality of the on-going dialogue between the Observatory, academia and civil society.
Additional attention is given to various foreign jurisdictions experiencing similar linguistic concerns. Currently, academic contributions are coming in from Catalonia, Belgium, Morocco, Russia, Switzerland, Peru, Italy, western Africa (Francophone) and southern Africa. Naturally, this international network boosts the Observatory’s international reputation and, consequently, that of the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law as well.
RéForMa is a group of professors in the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal who are interested in dispute resolution and in training in alternative dispute resolution methods.
The internal mandate of the members of RéForMa is the organization of conferences, workshops and other learning activities and the sharing of knowledge in order to promote the use of amicable methods of dispute resolution.
RéForMa’s mission is to stimulate discussion and research on the role and importance of alternative dispute resolution methods in the legal system and in our society, as well as to develop them so as to promote training activities destined for both the university and practitioners.
The Law, Change and Governance Group (le Regroupement droit, changements et gouvernance) was created in the spring of 2004, with financial support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC), the Université de Montréal and McGill University.
This group of researchers brings together lawyers, sociologists, political scientists, philosophers, ethics specialists, anthropologists, historians, economists, computer scientists, physicians, biologists and geneticists. Their areas of common interest all touch upon the relation between the law and social and technological change. The research projects they collaborate on contribute to the redefinition of theoretical perspectives and methodologies in the study of normative justice and enrich graduate programs in the field of law.
The scientific activities of the group’s members fall within the realm of interdisciplinary work done by the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP). For more than 10 years, the CRDP has served as a meeting place for many of these researchers. As history and the evolution of the CRDP’s scientific program can attest, the composition of these teams and the orientation of their work have changed over the years with the onset of new problems, new subjects to explore and new areas of research at the Centre.
The CRDP now leads this important research network for scientific collaboration that the RDCG hopes to support and develop.