The Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies was the dream of The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Senior. Mr. Martin was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge University. When he returned to England many years later as Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, he conceived the idea of a meeting in Cambridge which would provide lawyers and judges an opportunity to attend lectures and to engage in discussions beyond the scope of their daily work. From this idea, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies was established. The first meeting in Cambridge was in 1979 at Queens' College. The Cambridge Lectures have continued every two years at Queens’ College since 1979.
In 1984, the Institute established a similar series of lectures in the French language in Strasbourg, France. Les Journées Strasbourgeoises are held every four years.
Over the years, many leading lawyers, academics and judges from around the world have participated in The Cambridge Lectures and Les Journées Strasbourgeoises.
In addition to the lecture series, we also provide scholarships in Mr. Martin’s name to Canadian law students for study in the University of Cambridge Master of Laws programme. Each year, two Canadian students receive full funding through the Institute’s scholarship fund for this programme.
As of 2014, we also provide a French Language Scholarship to Canadian law students for study in law at a French language European university.
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies has been a great success in both its lecture series and the scholarship programme. Many people have been responsible for that success over the years under the leadership of our former Presidents, The Honourable Douglas H. Carruthers, Q.C., The Honourable Robert P. Armstrong, Q.C. and The Honourable Robert J. Sharpe. We owe each of them a huge debt for their leadership, vision and hard work over many, many years.