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Mandate and History
The Foundation's mandate is to help enable the creation of top-quality legal writing—one of the key tools that Canadian lawyers and judges need in their everyday work.
This need was much different when the Foundation was created in August 1959 and in the first decade or so of its growth. At that time there was little written material describing Canadian law, a modest volume of articles in the Canadian Bar Review and in the law faculty journals, but very few books. Canadian lawyers and judges relied chiefly on books and articles written in Britain and, to a lesser extent, American law texts.
A number of leaders of the Canadian Bar, including Brian Dickson, Renault St. Laurent, Stuart Thom, Donald McInnis, Ross McKimmie and Walter Owen worked together to meet this need by soliciting funds to create a foundation that would fund research and writing about Canadian law.
Evolving and Changing Circumstances
Much has changed since 1959. There now exists significant other research funding from sources such as law foundations and governments. However, much of that research is directed at what the law should be, rather than what it is. Often the work funded by those organizations does not help the busy lawyer or judge find the latest word on, for example, the duty of care in torts or the standard courts require for the admission of wiretap evidence.
This is where the Foundation for Legal Research comes in. Faced with a rapid rate of change and increasingly complex legal specialities, there is an even greater need now for legal exposition and analysis. The Foundation has been successful in building the capital of its fund (now $2.8 million) by careful management of its investments and expenses. The Foundation continues to receive funding from the Law Foundations of British Columbia and Ontario, which has enabled it to increase the number and amount of grants made in the last two years. However, the annual revenue generated is insufficient to meet the demand for all of the meritorious requests for research grants and, as such, many are turned down. See "Research Grants" above for more information.