New Dean of Law


Published: 27Apr1999

International human rights expert to be next Dean of Law: Multilingual scholar Dr Peter Leuprecht brings European perspective

Dr Peter Leuprecht, who has been a visiting professor at McGill for the past two years, will become the next dean of the Faculty of Law, succeeding Stephen Toope on June 1, 1999. His term, which was approved by the Board of Governors last night on the recommendation of an advisory committee, will last until May 31, 2004.

Born in Austria and fluent in five languages, Dr Leuprecht was most recently the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. Since September 1997, he has been working for the Canadian Department of Justice and affiliated with both McGill and the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is considered an expert on human rights theory and international law and in 1991 won the Prix du Civisme Européen.

"We are delighted to have attracted such an outstanding scholar in this important leadership role," says Principal Bernard Shapiro. "Dr Leuprecht’s wealth of experience and glowing international reputation will enhance the Faculty’s many strengths as it seeks to contribute to global issues." Current dean Stephen Toope is pleased at the choice of his successor, noting that "this appointment seems particularly appropriate with the Faculty about to launch its unique transystemic curriculum." He adds, "Dr Leuprecht is someone who has spent his life in a context of cross-cultural dialogue, a background which should be an enormous asset. McGill already has considerable depth in many aspects of both civil and common law, which this distinguished scholar will be able to reinforce."

Professor Leuprecht received his law education at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), culminating in a doctorate of law. He was appointed to the Secretariat General of the Council of Europe and served as the Secretary of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly 1965-69; Secretary of the Committee of Ministers 1976-80; Director of Human Rights, 1980-93; and elected Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe in 1993, a position he held until 1997, when he resigned over a disagreement with the dilution of Council of Europe standards. The author of numerous publications in the field of international law and human rights, Dr Leuprecht has taught at the universities of Strasbourg and Nancy (France) and at the European Academy of Law in Florence (Italy). He was a member of a committee of four "Sages" asked to prepare a Human Rights Agenda for the European Union.

The McGill Faculty of Law is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and recently opened the Nahum Gelber Law Library. The new transystemic curriculum will be launched in the fall of 1999.