Baxter Family Competition on Federalism

2019 edition

McGill University’s Faculty of Law and the Peter Mackell Chair in Federalism are proud to announce that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism will be returning for a second edition in early 2019.

This prestigious bi-annual competition is made possible through the generous support of Rachel Baxter (BSc’84, BCL’88) and Colin Baxter (BCL’90, LLB’90), who both practice law in Ottawa.

The overarching goal of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is to advance research and foster informed debate on federalism by young jurists (including law students, law PhD Candidates, junior legal scholars and junior lawyers) from around the world.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive prizes of $5000, $3000, and $1000 respectively, awarded by an international jury. The three winners will be given the unique opportunity to present their papers at a Symposium in May 2019.

Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to any aspect of federal theory or practice, by February 11, 2019. Comparative angles to federalism are particularly encouraged.

The 2018-2019 Jury

We are grateful to the distinguished jury members who will thoroughly consider the essays for the 2019 Competition:

  • Dr. Menaka Guruswamy, BR Ambedkar Research Scholar, Lecturer at Columbia Law School and Barrister at the Supreme Court of India (United States and India).

  • Dr. Rohan Edrisinha, Constitutional Advisor to UNDP Nepal, Faculty Member at University of Colombo Faculty of Law (Sri Lanka).

  • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice at the Supreme Court of Canada (Canada).

  • Prof. Asha Kaushal, Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and winner of the 2017 Baxter Competition, University of British Columbia (Canada).

  • Prof. Cheryl Saunders, President of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies and Director of Studies in Government Law, Melbourne Law School (Australia).

  • Prof. Eva Maria Belser, Co-Director of the Institute of Federalism and holder of the Chair for Constitutional and Administrative Law, University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

  • Prof. Francesco Palermo, Head of the Institute for Comparative Federalism at EURAC Research and Professor of Comparative Public Law at University of Verona’s Faculty of Law (Italy).

  • Prof. Hugo Cyr, Dean at University du Québec à Montréal’s Faculty of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Political Analysis of the Constitution and Federalism (Canada).

2019 Submission Guidelines

Author eligibility

  • All law students, as well as PhD candidates, junior legal scholars or junior lawyers with five years of experience or less, from anywhere around the world.

  • To be eligible, authors must either

    • Be currently enrolled in a BCL, LLB, JD, LLM, DCL, or PhD program in law (or their local equivalents);

    • Hold a law degree and have obtained their most recent degree (in law or otherwise) after February 11, 2014;

    • Have been admitted to the Bar (or the local equivalent) after February 11, 2014.

Criteria for submission

  • Original text in English or in French;

  • Maximum of 8,000 words, including footnotes, for texts in English;

  • Maximum of 8,800 words, including footnotes, for texts in French;

  • Not yet submitted for publication as of February 11, 2019;

  • Written in 12 points font, double-spaced, with 2.5 cm margins on all sides;

  • Numbered in the upper right corner;

  • Submitted in MS Word format;

  • Include complete references, following the Canadian Guide to Legal Citation;

  • Introduced by a separate document that includes:

    • title

    • author’s name

    • contact information (email, phone, address)

    • statement affirming the eligibility for the competition (date of graduation)

    • unpublished status of the paper;

  • Include an abstract summarizing the main question and main conclusions (maximum 200 words).

Deadline for submission of Essays: February 11, 2019, at 12h00, Eastern Standard Time (Montreal time).

Submissions are to be emailed to Professor Johanne Poirier, Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism, at with “Baxter Competition” as the email subject line.

Should you have any questions regarding the Competition, do not hesitate to contact our research assistant at

The French version of the call for papers is available here