Instructor(s): Douglas Sanderson

2 credits (Conditional enrol)

Seminar Schedule (see below): First term, 2 hours per week

Note: For graduate students, the course number is LAW7118Y.

Senior Board Members will be selected by the Director in the Spring of each year. Students must be in residence for the year in order to obtain credit for the journal. For purposes of this requirement, students registered in an Osgoode intensive are considered to be in residence if their intensive placement is in Toronto.

Students who serve as Senior Board Members of the Indigenous Law Journal and who are registered to receive credit will receive two ungraded academic credits. Students may to allocate one credit to each term or both credits to either term. No credit will be shown on the interim statement of grades until the program has been fully completed. It is strongly recommended that Senior Board Members take the course Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Law.

Students earning credit for this Journal must attend the Journals seminar that will meet for 2 hours per week in the Fall term on Mondays from 8:30 10:20 AM. The seminar complements activities of the Senior Board members in organizing cell group activities and participating in Senior Board meetings, and supports student editors by providing training and supervision in respect of the central tasks of student editors. The Seminars research and editing exercises build on other forms of legal writing and research instruction offered in the J.D. program. The seminar will track key phases of the journal production process. Topics include:

  • The key elements in good legal scholarship: distinguishing a topic from a research question; looking for an answer to the so what question; situating a submission in the larger context of academic debate.

  • The importance of good organization and clarity; is the argument sound; does it make a significant contribution to existing debates?
  • Assessing the research behind a submission: with help from Library staff, determining how to tell whether a submission cites all the relevant material and uses it properly.
  • Providing feedback to authors: interpreting Reviewers Reports; setting priorities, organizing substantive suggestions; how to present suggestions while preserving the integrity of the authors work.
  • Substantive editing: putting general lessons to work based on working with an actual manuscript.

For the seminar, Senior Editors will participate in the following exercises related to the submission:

  1. Manuscript assessment: Each Senior Editor will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.

  2. Research: Each Senior Editor will write a memo on the adequacy of part of the research in the submission.
  3. Feedback: Based on the groups assessment of the research and substance of the submission, as well as input from peer reviewers, each Senior Editor will draft a letter to the author conveying feedback.
  4. Editing: Each Senior Editor will annotate the submission to suggest revisions.

Over the course of the year each Senior Editor will participate in the editing of at least one further submission under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may work in teams of two or even three. The tasks involved include the following:

  1. Manuscript assessment: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each submission assigned to them. This analysis is expected to be detailed and incisive, covering both style and substance.

  2. Research: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo on the adequacy of the research in each submission assigned to them. The research librarians of the Bora Laskin Law Library will be available for guidance.
  3. Feedback to author: As assessments from peer reviewers come in, the Senior Editor(s) will refine their own analysis accordingly, and will draft a letter to the author collecting all the suggestions for revision, to be reviewed by the faculty advisor.
  4. Substance Editing: Senior Editor(s) will undertake a close edit of the final submission to work through the structure of the paper and the coherence of the argument with a view to improving the flow and the expression of the article. Student suggestions will be vetted by the faculty advisor. Again, Senior Editor(s) will meet with the faculty advisor to discuss the editorial suggestions.
Students will be required to produce a 10-12 page case comment on a recent case in Aboriginal law suitable for posting to the ILJ website.

At a Glance

Both Terms


8 JD