COVID-19 Information for the Faculty of Law

COVID-19 FAQ from the Faculty of Law

Latest updates

Updated: 29 September 2020.
For older news items previously published below, visit our archive.


29 September 2020: Montreal at red alert, and Winter 2021 term will be remote

On 28 September, the Government of Quebec announced that Montreal would be moving from an orange alert zone to a red alert zone at midnight on Wednesday, 30 September. Until then, McGill will continue to follow the procedures established for an orange alert zone.

McGill is working with the government to understand the impact for Quebec universities, and will communicate any changes to the community shortly.

Given this, McGill has also announced that the Winter 2021 term will mostly proceed remotely, with enhanced in-person teaching activities planned across all Faculties. Access to study hubs, student services, and other student-facing offices will be enhanced as public health guidelines permit.

Visit mcgill.ca/coronavirus for further updates.


2 September 2020: "walk-in" IT support, remote student life, myCourses, Zoom licenses, and study hubs

McGill's Service Desk has started offering virtual IT walk-in support, Monday to Friday, 9:00-17:00. You can book a 30-minute session with an agent and connect via webcam on MS Teams.

Furthermore, McGill's Remote Student Life website has a wealth of information on services and resources available remotely, and links to what is open on campus.

Make sure to check myCourses throughout the week for instructions on how to access classes remotely and other important information from instructors. New to myCourses? Check out these tips for students and this handy user manual.

Furthermore, students and teaching staff will receive expanded Zoom accounts for the academic year. When the integration is complete, your license will be automatically upgraded when logging in with your McGill credentials. You may need to log out of Zoom and then log in again to activate the new license.

Finally, study hubs will open soon in select libraries, such as the Nahum Gelber Law Library, for safe, individual study. The Library website will post information on hours and how to book a time slot.


18 August 2020: Are you outside Montreal? Connect to McGill via an eduroam partner institution

McGill is a member of eduroam, a secure, world-wide access service developed for the international research and education community. eduroam stands for education roaming. It offers users (faculty, students, staff) from participating academic institutions secure Internet access at any other eduroam participating location.

Any McGill student who has access to a local research university campus who is also an eduroam member can use their McGill credentials to access McGill’s IT infrastructure through that member's hotspot at no cost.

More than 10,000 eduroam hotspots are available at universities, research centres, academies, many schools, and other research and education institutions in more than 100 territories around the world.

See participating eduroam institutions in Canada and all over the world, and find out more by reading the eduroam entry in McGill’s Knowledge Base.


4 August 2020: FAQ for our first-year students

Earlier this summer, the Faculty of Law held two Zoom plenaries for students admitted to the BCL/JD to address their questions and preoccupations about the Fall 2020 semester and beyond. Our team has prepared a detailed FAQ for incoming students following these information sessions.


22 July 2020: FAQ for our returning students

Last month, Associate Dean (Academic) Rosalie Jukier and Student Affairs Office Director Nancy Czemmel held a Town Hall for returning law students. A summary of the Q&A session is now available on the SAO website: please see our FAQ for returning students.


Access to buildings remains limited

All Faculty of Law buildings remain classified as “limited access”. Only individuals who have been given express permission to enter the buildings may do so.

If you have been authorized to be on campus, please remember to follow the mandatory Directives for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 on Campus, which include wearing a mask or face covering, respecting the 2-meter physical distance requirement, and following arrows and signs when moving inside the building.

To keep everyone safe who is required to be physically present at the University, remember that only authorized people are allowed to access McGill buildings to carry out approved activities. Even if you are authorized to enter, you are must not open doors for friends or colleagues, or let anyone slip in behind you. Always ensure that the door has closed properly once you are inside.


The following FAQs sets out some of the key information that applies to the Faculty of Law in the current circumstances.

Teaching and learning

Updated: 3 August 2020.

Following a SAO Town Hall for upper year students in June, a summary of the Q&A session has been prepared as a FAQ. Please see the COVID-19 FAQ for returning students now available on the SAO site.

Will the Faculty of Law hold in-person classes this fall?

The Fall semester will begin as scheduled, and all courses will be delivered remotely for the duration of the Fall 2020 term. There will be no change to the mode of course delivery once the semester has begun.

The Faculty of Law looks forward to welcoming both new and returning BCL/JD, LLM, and DCL students, and is already hard at work to ensure that the start of the university year will be enriching, engaging, and fully adapted to a remote context.

For more information

What impact will a remote Fall 2020 term have on year-long courses?

There will be no changes to the Faculty of Law’s programs with respect to credit loads or program requirements based on the mode of delivery. Therefore, year-long courses will continue to be delivered over two consecutive terms. The Faculty of Law is presently focusing its efforts and resources on planning for remote instruction in the Fall 2020 term.

What will happen for the Winter 2021 term?

At this time, no decision has been made with respect to the Winter 2021 term. The University has indicated that a decision regarding the Winter 2021 term will likely be made early during the Fall 2020 term. The Faculty of Law will share the University’s decision with students as soon as it has been made.

Some students have expressed reservations about remote instruction based on their experience at the end of the Winter 2020 term. Will a full remote semester compromise the quality of students’ legal education?

The end of the Winter 2020 term was delivered remotely as an emergency measure in response to extraordinary and urgent circumstances. The Faculty of Law is undertaking careful planning and preparation in order to ensure that it can continue to deliver one of best legal educations in the world in a way that is fully adapted to a remote environment.

Specifically, the Faculty of Law has created an Ad Hoc Committee on Remote Pedagogy that will articulate principles and compile resources for remote teaching and learning, as well as provide guidance to instructors as they adapt their courses to a remote environment. A 1L Facilitator has also been designated to help coordinate the first-year program and create the best possible pedagogical experience for incoming students.

Do students have to be in Montreal for the Fall 2020 term?

No. Students will be able to follow their courses and pursue their program of studies from any location. Students will not be required to be in Montreal at any time during the Fall 2020 term and will not be penalized in any way if they are located elsewhere.

McGill’s announcement regarding the Fall 2020 term mentioned the possibility of resuming on-campus activities as the situation evolves?

The health and safety of students, professors, and staff will remain the Faculty of Law’s foremost priority and McGill will strictly adhere to the directives provided by public health authorities at all times.

If public health authorities allow for the resumption of some in-person activities, the Faculty of Law will carefully consider the circumstances under which these could be offered safely and it would ensure that possibilities for remote participation or suitable alternatives are in place.

Will students have access to Chancellor Day Hall, or other facilities on campus?

The health and safety of students, professors, and staff will remain the Faculty of Law’s top priority and McGill will strictly adhere to the directives provided by public health authorities at all times.

The Faculty of Law is unlikely to know whether in-person access to University buildings will be permitted until later this summer.

Will students be able to access to the Nahum Gelber Law Library for research or study purposes?

As are other McGill facilities, the Nahum Gelber Law Library is currently closed and it is not yet known when the library will be able to re-open to users. However, the Law Library team is working hard to ensure that students are able to access materials remotely. McGill’s Library Services also regularly updates its FAQ on library services and activities.

The HathiTrust Digital Library has granted temporary remote access to more than two million digitized books from McGill University Library. In addition to the books held by HathiTrust, library users have access to more than 6.7 million public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works, including the ability to download the full text of those works. Find out how to remote access McGill Library books on the HathiTrust platform.

For individual questions related to term essays or other research papers, students should contact their supervisor or course instructor.

Will there still be a welcome day and orientation activities for entering students?

The Faculty of Law recognizes that an in-person welcome day and orientation week cannot be perfectly replicated in a remote environment. However, it will be working closely with staff, professors and student groups over the course of the summer to offer incoming students an engaging experience that facilitates the building of connections between classmates.

Will students living in the Montreal area be able to meet their professors or classmates?

The health and safety of students, professors, and staff will remain the Faculty of Law’s foremost priority and McGill will strictly adhere to the directives provided by public health authorities at all times.

Under a ministerial decree signed on March 20, 2020, all indoor and outdoor gatherings are currently prohibited in Quebec. On May 20, however, the Quebec government relaxed its rules to allow some outdoor gatherings, as long as they are limited to 10 people from a maximum of 3 different households, and that social distancing is maintained.

Students are welcome to make social arrangements amongst themselves to the extent permitted by health authorities. Meetings with professors will be entirely at the discretion of the individual instructor.

Will students still be able to participate in clubs or extracurricular activities?

Yes. The Faculty of Law and the University will be working with student clubs and associations to ensure they are able to pursue their activities remotely, to the extent that they are able to do so.

While these activities may take a different form than in past years, McGill remains committed to providing a vibrant and engaging student experience outside the classroom.

Additional information will be provided by the University and student leadership over the course of the summer and early in the Fall 2020 term.

Will students be able to pursue an academic exchange during the Fall 2020 term?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a great deal of confusion and logistical obstacles, particularly with regard to travel. There are currently a wide variety of challenges relating to travel bans & restrictions, securing visas, booking flights, confirming accommodations, and accessing other services that are essential to any student travelling to study. Taken together, these factors make international travel extremely difficult at this time. Because of this, McGill has decided to suspend all inbound and outbound exchanges for the Fall 2020 term. For the duration of the Fall term, students will not have the option of exchanging remotely.

Will students be able to participate in experiential learning opportunities, such as court clerkships, legal clinic courses, and moot competitions?

Court clerkships: the SAO remains in constant communication with courts and tribunals, and is not making any changes to the court clerkships program at this time. The SAO will continue to monitor the situation and share developments with students as they arise.

Legal clinics: a number of summer legal clinic placements are available and may be completed remotely. The SAO is currently in communication with its partners regarding the Fall 2020 term. More information will follow.

Competitive mooting: applications for the next competitive mooting season are now closed, and tryouts have been postponed to June 2020 (the factum and the sign-up sheet will be published in late May on the SAO’s run-offs page).

The SAO is waiting for confirmation from various competitions as to whether or not they will proceed. However, the Davies Corporate/Securities Moot and the Environmental Law Moot have been cancelled. Students wishing to update their moot application should email giosina.rota [at] mcgill.ca.

How will students be evaluated in their Fall 2020 courses?

Methods of assessment will vary according to individual courses and instructors. However, there will be no in-person evaluations or assessments in the Fall 2020 term.

The Faculty of Law’s standard evaluation and deferral policies will apply for all courses offered during the Fall 2020 term. The expanded policies around Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading and deferred exams from the Winter 2020 term reflected exceptional and urgent circumstances that emerged at the end of the term and will not be carried forward.

Will courses still involve student participation if they are being delivered remotely?

Yes. Remote delivery platforms have many different functionalities designed to facilitate student participation, including video, audio, chat, and group discussions, among others. Students should expect to be able to pose questions to their professors and interact with their classmates.

What happens if I cannot attend classes because of caregiving responsibilities?

The Faculty of Law will be providing additional information regarding accommodation requests for students in the coming months.

Can I request a leave of absence if I am unable to resume my studies in the fall?

Leaves of absence are governed by the Faculty of Law’s Academic Regulations [.pdf], according to which a student may only request a leave of absence under exceptional circumstances and if they have already completed a minimum of 32 credits at the Faculty of Law. Decisions regarding leaves of absence are made at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Academic).

Will tuition be reduced for the Fall 2020 term in light of remote instruction?

Tuition fees are set by McGill University. At this time, McGill is not contemplating a tuition reduction for any of its programs, including those offered by the Faculty of Law.

The University recognizes that the pandemic has affected many people financially — rather than reducing tuition, McGill has increased financial aid for students in need. Consult the Scholarships and Student Aid website for information on financial support.

The University has also defined Principles Governing Non-Tuition Fees for Fall 2020, which are available on the University’s Coronavirus information and resources site.

Will ancillary student fees be reduced in the Fall 2020 term?

Ancillary student fees are still under consideration by the University. The fee level may be adjusted based on the services that McGill is able to offer and that students are able to access, but this has not yet been determined. Students can find out more about tuition and fees on the Student Accounts website.

I have signed a lease in Montreal. Can I cancel it?

The Faculty of Law is unable to provide legal advice to individual students. Students seeking direction on legal matters, such as leases, are invited to contact the Legal Information Clinic at McGill.

How will the pandemic affect organized student recruitment processes, job prospects, licensing or articling?

The Faculty's Career Development Office maintains a detailed FAQ on how the situation surrounding COVID-19 may affect your career development on its website (log-in required). Questions or concerns should be directed to cdo.law [at] mcgill.ca.

Who should students contact if they have questions about a course or an exams?

The course instructor in question should be the first point of contact. Questions can also be sent by email to sao.law [at] mcgill.ca. Graduate students should contact grad.law [at] mcgill.ca.

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Admissions to the BCL/JD

Updated: 20 May 2020, 11:00.

I was accepted with a condition to complete my current degree. Do I have to maintain a specific GPA in order to fulfill my condition?

If you were admitted on the condition that you complete your current degree program, you are not required to maintain a specific GPA or take a requisite number of graded credits during the Winter 2020 or Summer 2020 semesters. We recognize the stressful and unprecedented nature of the current situation, and we know that students are being impacted in different and complex ways that may affect their academic performance. As long as you fulfill the requirements of your current degree by the time the Fall 2020 semester begins, you will be deemed to have fulfilled your condition of admission.

My current education institution has either required or allowed me to use a pass/fail (“P/F”) or satisfactory/unsatisfactory (“S/U”) grading regime for the Winter 2020 and/or Summer 2020 semester(s). Will I be penalized for taking any non-graded credits?

We understand that students admitted to our program may have been given the option or have been required to take courses under a S/U or P/F arrangement during the Winter 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters.

As long as you are able to fulfill all of the requirements of your degree by the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, you will have met the condition of your admission. The completion of your current degree program with graded credits or with an alternative grading system will have no impact on your admission to McGill Law.

I am worried about starting my degree remotely in Fall 2020. Can I defer my admission to Fall 2021?

The Faculty of Law does not normally accept requests for deferred entry. Students are expected to start the program on the date and term they applied for and as indicated on their admission offer letter. Deferrals of admission are exceptional and generally permitted only for extenuating circumstances beyond a student's control. The Faculty of Law does not traditionally grant deferrals in order to allow students to fulfill conditions of their admission. Exceptionally for the Fall 2020 admissions cycle, because of the impacts that COVID-19 has had on students’ ability to complete their current studies, we will entertain requests to defer admission to the Fall 2021 in order to allow students more time to complete their current studies.

To request an admission deferral, you must first accept the offer of admission and pay the non-refundable $400 deposit. Once the offer of admission has been accepted, you may then submit a request for the deferral in writing. The request should be addressed to the Assistant Dean (Admissions and Recruitment); it should set out the reason(s) for the request; and include any relevant documentation. The Admissions Office reserves the right to ask for additional documentation that might be needed to assess your deferral request.

Students wishing to defer their admission are encouraged to submit requests as early as possible out of consideration for other candidates. Exceptionally, for the Fall 2020 cycle, no deferral requests, other than those relating to serious medical conditions, will be accepted if they are received after 11:59 PM on 31 July 2020.

Decisions on deferrals are made by the Assistant Dean (Admissions and Recruitment) and these decisions are final.

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For our LLM and DCL students

Updated: 13 May 2020.

McGill’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) Office frequently updates its Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page on graduate activities. Please bookmark the page and check it often!

The Faculty of Law's Graduate Studies Office is fielding many questions from newly admitted LLM and DCL students. We are currently working on preparing an FAQ to answer those questions that this FAQ page has not addressed.

Deadline for DCL Tracking Forms extended to June 15

The deadline for the annual progress tracking exercise and submission of the DCL tracking form [.pdf] has been extended to 15 June 2020. Students in their first year of the DCL program need only complete the tracking form with their respective supervisors; first-year students must also submit the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Planning and Tracking form [.pdf] to grad.law [at] mcgill.ca by this date.

Tracking meetings and comprehensive exams to go forward remotely

Tracking meetings and comprehensive exams will go forward via Zoom or other virtual platforms during May and June. Students are encouraged to schedule times for tracking meetings now.

Graduate student supervisors should have a Zoom licence to invite students to a meeting, but if they do not, please contact Law’s GPO (grad.law [at] mcgill.ca) to arrange for use of its Zoom licence for the purposes of the meeting.

DCL Thesis Defences now on Zoom

McGill’s GPS has confirmed that thesis defences will continue remotely using Zoom. Several DCL defences have already been completed successfully in this fashion. GPS will set up the Zoom meetings for each defence.

Completing a doctoral degree is a momentous occasion, and we regret being unable to celebrate this special moment in person. When the restrictions on meetings are lifted, the Faculty of Law’s GPO will organize a small get-together to toast you all.

Deadline for LLM protocol and proposal forms was extended to May 29

For LLM students working on their protocol and proposal forms, the deadline for the submission of those forms had been extended to 29 May 2020.

Finishing your LLM remotely

McGill strongly encourages students – even those who live within Canada – to return home if they are able to do so safely. International students should also follow the directives of their respective governments to return home, as applicable.

McGill does not yet know when people will be able to resume travelling freely, so returning home may preclude students from returning to Montreal to finish their degree here. McGill’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office will not penalize students who return home: students will be able to finish their third term remotely. However, students will still need to enroll and pay fees as if attending in person.

Because each LLM student has a potentially different situation (thesis/non-thesis program; bioethics option; etc.), they should contact the GPO (grad.law [at] mcgill.ca) if they plan to go home. This is to ensure that no program requirements are forgotten.

Students do not need to contact GPO again if they have previously discussed plans with Associate Dean Andrea Bjorklund or with a member of the GPO staff. However, if individual students have not yet decided what to do, the GPO would be grateful to be kept informed once a decision has been made.

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McGill operations

Updated: 25 May 2020.

What resources are available for staff working remotely?

McGill employees are encouraged to work from home whenever they can. McGill’s IT Services has gathered an extensive set of resources and tools for staff and faculty who are working remotely: mcgill.ca/it/work-remotely

The Faculty recognizes that this is a highly unusual and challenging time for employees who are balancing the obligations of work and family. Staff are urged to put the safety and needs of their loved ones first.

As announced on 1 May 2020, while the University remains operational, members of the academic, administrative and support staff are to continue working remotely from home and are not authorized to come to campus pending further notice.

Will McGill’s spring Convocation take place as planned?

Not this year. On 20 March 2020, Principal Suzanne Fortier, announced that spring convocation ceremonies were called off in order to prioritize the health of our community.

Update: on 24 April 2020, Principal Suzanne Fortier announced that Spring 2020 graduating students will be honoured during two Convocation ceremonies. McGill Convocation and Graduation's office has since published an extensive 2020 Convocation FAQ.

  1. The Spring 2020 in-person Convocation ceremonies have been postponed until Spring 2021.
  2. The University will also hold a Spring 2020 virtual Convocation ceremony to allow graduates to celebrate with their family and friends from across the globe. See the Convocation and Graduation's FAQ as well. The Faculty of Law's virtual ceremony will be held on 19 June 2020, at noon.

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Health and wellbeing

Updated: 21 May 2020.

I have flu-like symptoms. What should I do?

If you are worried about COVID‑19 or if you have flu-like symptoms or gastroenteritis symptoms similar to COVID‑19, you can phone

Based on your symptoms, a health care professional will advise you on the best course of action. Follow their instructions carefully.

Do not go to a medical clinic unless you have first obtained an appointment. Visit the emergency room only if you have difficulty breathing when resting, or are unable to breathe when lying down.

It is important that people who are ill, have been exposed to COVID-19 or are awaiting test results self-isolate immediately as per the government of Quebec’s guidelines for home isolation. See Santé Montréal's Coronavirus COVID-19 page for several guides and resources.

Law students: report your situation to the Student Affairs Office immediately at sao.law [at] mcgill.ca.  

Students living in residence: report your status by contacting Student Housing and Hospitality Services at  housing.residences [at] mcgill.ca. Self-reporting will ensure that assistance is provided to you and services are maintained.

Staff members who experience flu-like symptoms must complete the Coronavirus self-declaration form for staff (UPDATE: see Changes to employee requirements to use the self-declaration form, dated 27 March 2020), so that McGill can document illness or possible exposure to COVID-19. This important tool will safeguard the health and safety of employees and restrict the outbreak in the McGill community and the general population.

As a student, where can I find support resources for my mental health and wellness?

Students are encouraged to consult McGill University’s Wellness Hub for the most up-to-date information, and to take virtual appointments with the Faculty’s Local Wellness Advisors.

Staff members at McGill's Gelber Law Library have compiled a useful page of Health and Wellness resources for Law students.

Other resources:

  • Virtual Healthcare: International students covered by Blue Cross have virtual access to doctors via the Maple app. Fees are reimbursed by their healthcare plan within 72 hours. Students with other health insurance plans may also use this service, however, it is not currently covered by other insurers.
  • Mental Health Support: Keep.meSAFE is a mental health counselling service, offered to students in partnership with SSMU and PGSS, that provides 24/7/365 access to licensed counsellors through telephone and mobile chat in over 60 languages. To access this service, download the MySSP app for Apple iOS or Android, or call 1.844.451.9700. You can learn more about this service on SSMU's website.

As a faculty or staff member, where can I find resources for mental health to assist me during this time?

The current situation presents many challenges that may affect mental health. Many resources exist to help people facing mental health issues. Professional counselling and advice for a range of issues are available for staff through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).

Faculty and staff members who are seeking support can also consult the following resources:

Some external links to stay informed

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