Call to the Bar and Honourary Degree ceremonies

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The Law Society of Upper Canada has been calling lawyers to the bar since 1797. It was not until 1936, however, that families and friends of candidates were welcome to attend the call ceremony. The number of ceremonies per year and the location of ceremonies has expanded over time, and the profession has witnessed a growing diversity amongst the candidates, but the purpose of the ceremony remains constant - to call and welcome new lawyers to the bar of Ontario.

The Law Society of Upper Canada grants the degree of Barrister-at-Law when candidates are called to the bar. In 1957, an amendment to the Law Society Act gave the Law Society of Upper Canada the power to grant LL.B. degrees for the law school's academic course. Students who commenced the study of law at Osgoode Hall Law School in 1957 were the first to receive the LL.B. degree when graduating in 1960. The Law Society of Upper Canada continued to grant LL.B. degrees until 1970, two years after Osgoode Hall Law School moved to York University.

The degree granting rights the Law Society of Upper Canada received in 1957 gave it the power to award honourary degrees. Since 1960, the Law Society of Upper Canada has recognized distinguished members of the profession and the public by awarding Doctor of Laws degrees, honoris causa (LL.D.). The granting of honourary degrees first took place at the Osgoode Hall Law School academic convocations and later at the call to the bar ceremonies.

The following pages document the public Call to the Bar ceremonies, Osgoode Hall Law School academic convocations, and separate honourary degree ceremonies, that have taken place since 1936. The pages include copies of the ceremonial programmes, honourary degree citations, and speeches, that exist in the Archives of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The 1930s

 The 1940s

The 1950s

The 1960s

The 1970s

The 1980s

The 1990s

The 2000s

2010 to Present