Instructor(s): Denise Réaume

2 credits (Conditional Enrol)

Schedule: see below

Editors-in-Chief and Senior Editors will be selected in the Spring of each year. Students must be in residence for the year in order to obtain credit for the journal.

The Journal of Law and Equality is an important forum for the discussion of equality-related issues in Canada. The Journal's Senior Editors make a crucial contribution to the work of the JLE. This course aims to support student editors by providing training and supervision in respect of the central tasks of student editors. These research and editing exercises will complement the normal activities of the Senior Board members in organizing cell group activities and participating in Senior Board meetings.

Students who serve as Editors-in-Chief, or Senior Editors of the Journal of Law & Equality may receive two ungraded credits. A student must commit himself or herself to his or her Journal of Law & Equality responsibilities for the entire year to obtain credit. However, students are permitted 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.

Students earning credit for this workshop must attend a mandatory workshop that will meet for ten to twelve hours, five to six hours in the Fall term and four hours in the Winter term. The workshop is scheduled at two times on Wednesdays each term, from 2:10-4:00 pm and 4:10-6:00 p.m.; students must attend at one of the two scheduled times. The workshop meetings will be timed to coincide with key phases of the journal production process. Topics to be covered 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; is it significant?
  • How to conduct cell groups so that Associate Editors begin to learn some of the key lessons of manuscript assessment.
  • Preparing for Senior Board meetings: writing an abstract for a paper; assessing the adequacy of research in a submission; summarizing strengths and weaknesses to foster effective discussion.
  • Providing feedback to authors: interpreting Reviewers Reports; setting priorities, organizing substantive suggestions; how to present suggestions without stepping on toes.
  • 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.
  • 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 new submission under the supervision of a faculty member. This process will be undertaken with papers that have made it through the cell groups and have been passed up to the Senior Board, and which the Board deems prima facie publishable. 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: The students will be invited to take a first stab at editing the final submission. The point of this is not to correct the grammar but to work through the structure of the paper and the coherence of the argument with a view to improving the overall quality of the paper. Student suggestions will feed into the ultimate editing performed by the faculty advisor. Again at least one meeting will be held with the faculty advisor to discuss the editorial suggestions.

As an alternative to participating in the substance editing of a submission, students may want to consider writing a case comment, or comment on proposed or recently enacted legislation, or on a recently issued commission or inquiry report for consideration for publication in the Journal.


At a Glance

Both Terms


10 JD