Fonds MG 4284 - Roderick A. Macdonald Fonds

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Roderick A. Macdonald Fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Electronic

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the fonds.

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CA MUA MG 4284

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • approximately 1976-2012 (Creation)
    Macdonald, Roderick A., 1948-2014

Physical description area

Physical description

6.3 m of textual records
5 photographs
4 compact discs

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in Ontario in 1948, Roderick A. Macdonald began his teaching career after graduating from the University of Toronto's law school. After teaching at the University of Windsor in the 1970s, Professor Macdonald came to McGill University in 1979 and served as Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1984 to 1989. His term as Dean was a leap forward for McGill. His vision of legal education, his energy as a scholar, his ability to redefine and re-imagine the boundaries of law, his deep commitment to justice, his unfailing integrity, and his unique dedication to his students and colleagues - all of these continue to this day to define the mission and aspirations of McGill's Faculty of Law.

Macdonald's resaerch and teaching interests were in civil law, commercial law, administrative law, constitutional law, jurisprudence, and access to justice. From 1989 to 1995, he was Director of the Law in Society program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and from 1997 to 2000 he was president of the Law Commission of Canada. He chaired a Task Force on Access to Justice of the Ministère de la justice du Québec (1989-91), and had been a consultant to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission (2007-2008), the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991-1992), to the Ontario Civil Justice Review and to the Federal Department of Justice on the interaction of federal law and the Civil Code of Québec.

Between 2002 and 2004, he was a consultant to the World Bank in Ukraine and drafted that country's current law on secured transactions. In 2003 and 2004 he was a consultant on civil judgement execution with the CIDA-sponsored Legal Reform Project in the Republic of Vietnam. In 2002, he became a member of the Canadian delegation to UNCITRAL and was on the team drafting the legislative guide to secured transactions law. On October 6, 2006, Justice Minister Yvon Marcoux announced the creation of an expert panel to examine if any measures to prevent Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) should be adopted, to be headed by Macdonald.
In April 2007, Macdonald was awarded a Killam Prize, Canada's most distinguished annual award for outstanding career achievement in research. In the fall of that year, he was honoured with the University of Ottawa Section de droit civil's Ordre du mérite, and, in November 2007, he received the Sir William Dawson Medal for the Social Sciences by the Royal Society of Canada. In November 2008, Macdonald was elected the 111th president of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). He was the first law professor ever to have been elected president of the RSC and served from November 2009 to November 2011.

Macdonald received the Canadian Bar Association's (CBA) 2010 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law in recognition of his contributions to the law. In October 2010, he was awarded an LL.D. (honoris causa) by the University of Montreal, and, in June 2011, he was awarded an LL.D. (honoris causa) by Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.

In November 2011, Macdonald was named to the Charbonneau Commission, which has been charged with examining allegations of corruption in the construction industry. That same month, during the Fall convocation ceremonies, he received McGill's Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Learning. In June 2012, the McGill Law Students Association awarded him the 2012 John W. Durnford Teaching Excellence prize.

Macdonald lectured widely across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia and held visiting positions at Osgoode Hall Law School, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the Australian National University, the University Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, the University of Aix-Marseilles, and the London School of Economics.

In 2012 Macdonald retired from McGill. In November of that year, Governor General David Johnston announced that the new reading room in Walter House, the Royal Society of Canada's headquarters in Ottawa, would be named the Macdonald Room in Roderick Macdonald's honour. In December 2012, he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and in February 2013, he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canadian society. On May 28, 2014, at Law's Spring Convocation, he was awarded, in absentia, the McGill University Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement, one of the University’s highest honours.

Roderick Macdonald passed away on June 13, 2014.

Custodial history

The records were kept and maintained by the creator in his office at McGill University until Roderick Macdonald donated them to the McGill University Archives

Scope and content

The fonds consists of documents relating to Macdonald’s publications and professional activities outside the classroom both prior to and during his tenure at McGill and for various professional associations. The scope covers the period of 1976 to 2012 and includes: articles, essays, and speeches (both draft, final and off-print) and their assorted documentation (travel itinerary, correspondence, conference notes, and research).

The fonds is divided into four series which were imposed by the archivist. The first is Publications which relates to any of Macdonald’s published material. The second is Professional Activities which is composed mainly of speeches and conference notes and materials. The third is Publications and Professional Activities which encompasses any professional activity which was subsequently published or vice versa. The last is Course Materials.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Deposited by Roderick Macdonald, 4 July 2014


The original order of the fonds was maintained.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

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Restrictions on access

Some files are restricted under the An Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (R.S.Q., chapter A-2.1).

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No further accruals are expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Jean-Marc Tremblay 13/06/2018

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