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Foundation for Legal Research
Walter Owen Book Prize

The Walter Owen Book Prize, awarded by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research, is designed to recognize excellent legal writing and to reward outstanding new contributions to Canadian legal doctrine that enhance the quality of legal research in this country.

The Prize was created in honour of Walter Owen, Q.C., P.C., a prominent member of the Law Society of British Columbia, former Lieutenant Governor of that province, past President of the Canadian Bar Association and original President of what is now the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research. 



  • Any book judged to be of great value to Canadian lawyers and judges in the performance of their daily duties.
  • The book must have been published in the two year-period preceding the awarding of the Prize.
  • Awarded in alternating years for works written in English (odd-numbered years) and French (even-numbered years).
  • Co-authors are acknowledged as nominees.


  • Submissions must be accompanied by a statement of 200 words or less explaining how the book meets the Prize criteria.
  • The submissions must be made with the author’s consent. At the end of the competition, the books will not be returned to the individuals or to the publishing companies that submitted them. 
  • The deadline for applications is March 15, 2019. Submissions must include one copy of the book sent to the attention of the Jury Chair, at the following address:

John N. Davis
Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Additional copies will be requested for books which are shortlisted. Our experience suggests that the publisher of the book will be happy to supply the necessary copies.


The winning submission will be an important work on a topic of current interest in the field of law. Its value must be highly appreciated by jurists, including judges, practising lawyers, and academics. 

In choosing the winner, first editions will be preferred over subsequent editions of works that have already been published, unless a new edition consists of an extensive and complete revision of the original work. General interest works such as biographies of eminent jurists, commissioned works, and research in the context of law reform are also less likely to be selected. 


The successful candidate will be chosen by a Jury made up of eminent lawyers, judges and/or academics appointed annually by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research.

The members of the Jury in 2019 are:

John N. Davis – Chair
John-Paul E. Boyd
Arthur L. Close, Q.C.
David C. Day, Q.C.
Timothy C. Matthews, Q.C.
Justice Kenneth C. Mackenzie, Q.C.


The Prize is a $15,000 cash prize funded by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research. It will be awarded at a place and time to be announced.


For additional information, please contact the Secretary of the Chair of the Jury, John Davis (jdavis@yorku.ca).

Recent Winners


Deadline for Applications:

March 15, 2019


John N. Davis
Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3


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