History of the Faculty of Law


In 1945, one of the Faculty’s sessional instructors, George H. Steer, a Queen’s graduate, became Acting Dean. He selected Wilbur Fee Bowker, a Faculty graduate, to join the Faculty as a full-time instructor. Bowker, who also earned an LL.M from Minnesota after graduating with his LL.B. in 1932, took over as Acting Dean of the Faculty in 1947. Steer officially became Dean of the Faculty in 1948.

After a decline in enrollment in the mid 1940s following the Second World War, enrollment rose suddenly and then fluctuated for the next few years. This situation created many challenges for a Faculty in need of revitalization.

When the Rutherford Library was built in 1951, the Faculty of Law moved its library to the first floor of this new space. By 1964, the Faculty of Law had been given classrooms, offices & a moot court room on the third floor of the Rutherford Library.

The 1960s was another period of welcomed reform. The undergraduate program saw the addition of Taxation and Administrative Law, and students were offered some flexibility with their course selections. The Master of Laws (LL.M.) program also started in 1965.

Dean Wilbur Fee Bowker led the Faculty through some very exciting times during his twenty-year term as Dean of the Faculty from 1948 until 1968.

He placed great importance on the value of legal research; thus, he supported a major project to enhance the Faculty’s law library and increase its collections to ensure that students had access to the very best materials during their studies.

By the late 1960s, it was evident that the Faculty of Law needed to find a home of its own, as increased enrollment and Faculty growth were placing strain on its facilities. Designs to build a new space dedicated to the Faculty of Law soon began.