CBA Public Sector Lawyers Section Essay Contest - In the Public Interest

The CBA Public Sector Lawyers’ Section has established the "In the Public Interest" Student Essay Contest for the best paper written about the contribution of public sector lawyers or an important development in the law affecting public sector lawyers in Canada. The objectives of the contest are to promote and reward interest in public sector careers in Canadian law schools and to promote participation by Canadian law students in the national Public Sector Lawyers’ Section.

Criteria and Eligibility

The award is presented annually for the best English or French scholarly paper received by the submission date on a subject relating to public sector lawyering in Canada by an individual who is a full-time or a part-time student currently enrolled at a Canadian law school. Also, all current graduating law students, articling students, candidates in the Law Practice Program and National Committee on Accreditation candidates enrolled at a Canadian law school, are eligible to enter as long as they are not called to the Bar in Canada.

Papers must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Papers must be no more than 30 pages in length, including references (12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced), excluding the title page and bibliography.
  • Papers must address either (i) the contribution of public sector lawyers (individuals or organizations) to law in Canada, (ii) a development in law important for public sector lawyers in Canada, including developments related to public sector legal ethics.
  • Papers must be appropriately referenced; all referencing methods in the legal field will be accepted.
  • Papers may be written in English or in French. There will be one prize in total.
  • Papers must be researched and written by one author. Papers must be the author’s own original, unpublished work. Papers that are submitted for a law school course are eligible.
  • The author’s name and identifying information must not appear on the paper itself.
  • A brief abstract (max. 150 words) and author biography (max. 150 words) must also be submitted.
  • Additional formatting requirements.

Papers will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Theoretical or practical value
  • Soundness of argumentative or expositive thread, including clarity of thesis statement
  • Effectiveness of organization and structure, including clarity of introduction and conclusion
  • Quality of prose, with value ascribed to gracefulness and clarity
  • Creativity and persuasiveness

Papers written in the context of a course or written specifically for this competition will be accepted.  However, we encourage students to be selective in their submission and only send papers of significant quality.

The author will grant the CBA the non-exclusive right to produce, reproduce and publish and sell the work (as part of the CLE materials available to be purchased on the CBA website). The CBA will acknowledge in any publication the authorship as noted in the work. The author authorizes the CBA to make minor revisions that the CBA may judge necessary for the purpose of such publication. The author warrants that the appropriate acknowledgement has been given and consent obtained for quotes or extracts from other sources that, except as noted, the work is original and its use and publication by CBA will not expose CBA to any claim or liability for breach of confidence or copyright.

Plagiarism Policy

Submissions must not infringe the intellectual property rights of others and must not plagiarize another’s work. Plagiarism is deliberately presenting the ideas, expression of ideas, or work of others as one’s own. Plagiarism includes reproducing or paraphrasing portions of someone else’s published or unpublished material, regardless of the source, and presenting these as one’s own without proper citation or reference to the original source. The CBA reserves the right to assess all submissions for content that potentially infringes on or plagiarizes the work of another and will disqualify any candidate that submits such content.

Selection Process

Individuals must submit their own papers for consideration, together with their full name, address, telephone/fax numbers and email address).

Papers will be evaluated by a jury of 3-5 members, including members on the executive committee.

The selection committee may decide not to offer an award in any one year.

Award & Presentation

The winner will be announced on the Section’s webpage and through Section and CBA communications as appropriate. The winning article will be published on the CBA Public Sector Lawyers’ Section webpage.

The winner receives a $500 cash award. There will be no formal award presentation. As required, the National Section executive will work with the award recipients corresponding CBA branch to organize the presentation of a certificate.

Deadline for submissions

May 2

Entries received after the deadline will not be considered.


CBA Sections
Phone: (613) 237-2925 or
Toll Free: (800) 267-8860

Award Winners