Instructor(s): Douglas Sanderson

2 credits (Conditional enrol)

Schedule: see below

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 Wednesdays from 4:10 - 6:00 PM. The seminar complements activities of the Senior Board members in organizing cell group activities and participating in Senior Board meetings, and aims to support student editors by providing training and supervision in respect of the central tasks of student editors. These 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:

  • Brainstorming about the year’s objectives – developing ideas for content.

  • 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?
  • How to conduct cell groups so that Associate Editors learn how to read critically an academic article in law.
  • 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.
  • Preparing for Senior Board meetings: writing an abstract for a paper; summarizing strengths and weaknesses to foster effective discussion.
  • Providing feedback to authors: interpreting Reviewers Reports; setting priorities, organizing substantive suggestions; how to present suggestions while preserving the integrity of the author’s work.
  • Substantive editing: putting general lessons to work based on working with an actual manuscript.

Over the course of the year each Senior Editor will participate in the editing of at least one 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. Research: Senior Editor(s) will first write up a memo on the adequacy of the research in the submission. They may do this in conjunction with the members of the cell group responsible for bringing forward the paper, but the Senior Editors will be responsible for writing up the report. The research librarians of the Bora Laskin Law Library will be involved to guide the students in this process.

2. Manuscript assessment: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the paper with a view to incorporating this into the ultimate feedback sent to the author. As assessments from peer reviewers come in, the student(s) will refine their own analysis to take account of the feedback from the peer reviewers. Ultimately they will draft a letter to go to the author collecting all the feedback; the draft will be reviewed by the faculty advisor. Meetings will be held with the faculty advisor throughout this process to discuss the students’ own assessment of the submission, their reaction to the reviewers’ assessment, and finally the content of the final communication to the author.

3. Substance Editing: Students will undertake a close edit of the final submission. The point is 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, at least one meeting will be held 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