The Manitoba Law Journal: Practical Legal Commentary by — and for — the Legal Community
Over the last 10 years, the Manitoba Law Journal has strived to reinvent itself in all of its dimensions. The MLJ is now more easily accessible than ever, in both electronic and print format. Online versions are available on this website, but if you're looking for your own copy, find the issue you're seeking by clicking here.
For several years, all of its contents have been publicly accessible online at themanitobalawjournal.com and CanLII, as well as at specialized services like LexisNexis Quicklaw and Westlaw. Anyone looking to procure a quality print copy can now easily access one for a small charge plus delivery cost at Amazon.ca; a few clicks will result in a hardcopy issue being sent directly to your home or office.
Dr. Bryan Schwartz, one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief, puts it this way
“We have worked very hard over the past decade to produce a journal that practitioners and the public in Manitoba will find relevant and engaging. The content is there, and we now have delivery mechanisms to make sure it is all easily accessible. Whether you want the E-publication version or traditional print, it’s here for you.
We have one culminating task: to get the news out to the professor and the public that this new content is available for you. It’s aimed to connect with you as a practitioner, policy-maker or citizen. We’ve tried very hard to make it readable as well as informative. Please do feel free to enjoy.”
Editorial leadership: In 2010, hands-on overall editorial leadership was assumed by two faculty members, Dr. Bryan Schwartz and Prof. Darcy MacPherson. A small but highly-productive group of students work under their leadership, whether through summer employment, or for credits in the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law’s Publications course. On special projects, others play a lead role. For example, with respect to the nationally-recognized RobsonCrim issues of the MLJ, Dr. Richard Jochelson and Prof. Davy Ireland have effective editorial control.
The new focus of the MLJ has been on the developments of special importance to the legal community in Manitoba. As there is no other law school in Manitoba, the MLJ has set out to ensure that there is high-calibre, relevant and timely commentary on events that are of particular interest to our citizens and legal experts. The aim is to bring multiple perspectives, including ideas from around the world in many disciplines, to events here in Manitoba, and in turn, to contribute to understanding events far outside our borders. The Journal now has five dimensions, each of which is the subject of general or special issues:
- courts and tribunals, usually covered in our Legal Landscape issues;
- legislation and public policy, usually covered in our Underneath the Golden Boy issues;
- Indigenous issues, initiated with an oral history of Indigenous jurists from Manitoba;
- criminal law and policy, usually covered in our RobsonCrim issues;
- the past, present and future of the legal profession and legal education in Manitoba.
Through its coverage of all aspects of the profession, the MLJ has produced special issues that include events like the “great transition in legal education” (Volume 39, Issue 1) which allows you to read candid career and personal reflections from many of your former teachers. This volume also includes a documentary historical treasure trove of legal education in Manitoba since its inception – coming from a symposium on clinical legal education.
The MLJ has also produced special issues on the Winnipeg General Strike (Volume 42, Issue 5), and on five decades of Chief Justices of Manitoba, including a volume of memoirs of Sam Freedman (Volume 37’s special issue) and a new special issue on Chief Justice Robson (Volume 42, Issue 2).
Productivity: Since 2010, the re-invented MLJ has become one of the most prolific journals in Canada. Regularly producing forty to fifty full-length articles per cycle, its editorial team does not merely receive and edit submissions, but creates projects while inviting and supporting participation by academics and professionals. The regular production of legal scholarship focused on our own Manitoba community has gone from very little to hundreds of articles in the past decade.
The academic quality of the MLJ has been nationally recognized: In 2014, the MLJ won its first-ever grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada. Journals are ranked by independent experts. In the latest competition (in 2018), the Manitoba Law Journal received an extraordinary accolade: it was ranked second overall in Canada in its category, which included not only applicants from many top-notch Canadian law journals, but also outstanding journals in other disciplines such as political science, economics, administration and business management. The “silver medal” national finish demonstrates that a journal can be readable, accessible, relevant and timely and still meet the highest standards of academic excellence. Also, articles from the MLJ continue to be cited in decisions of the courts, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Manitoba Law Journal has welcomed contributions in the last decade from almost all of Robson Hall’s full-time faculty, many practitioners, and a number of students. It welcomes submission from all political and other viewpoints.
Dr. Schwartz’s partner as Co-Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Darcy MacPherson, said: “We have a rigorous peer-review process. Material is reviewed by the Student Editors and at least one of the Faculty Editors and then sent out for external review by independent experts. At the same time, though, we have done everything we can to be author-friendly. We’re here to encourage and support contributors, either on an individual basis or in connection with multi-author projects on special themes. More and more, we find we are a “go-to place” for top content, for both authors and readers. Top-notch scholars from Canada are now actively coming to us with innovative ideas for content, and we are thrilled about that.”
Dr. Richard Jochelson has led up the efforts to give the MLJ a strong social media presence. RobsonCrim’s blawg site cracked CanLII’s Top Ten articles for 2020. See this link for more information on that front.
More importantly, the RobsonCrim MLJ special issue has seen several citations at the Supreme Court of Canada and is being touted as a go-to resource. Leading scholars have referred to it as “one of the great things going in criminal law research in Canada” and that the volumes are “widely read, specialized but very open to all sorts of ideas and research backgrounds and methodologies, & online (i.e. accessible and in turn, impactful)!” with contributions from international and national experts in criminal law. Click here to learn more.
Dr. Schwartz concludes: “We hope that the Manitoba Law Journal is now a crucial part of our collective identity as an institution. It’s a major focal point for faculty and student creative and editorial activity. Looking ahead, we hope more and more that potential readers and authors out there in Manitoba and in the wider world will agree that we are really doing something that is distinctive, indeed unique among law journals – but at the same time right up there in quality with the best of them.”