Dennis Klinck

Part-time Instructor

Law, Faculty of

Room 301F

1 506 453 4669

Research interests

  • judicial equity
  • legal history (especially early modern)
  • legal discourse
  • legal interpretation


Professor Klinck, an Albertan by birth, holds a doctorate in English Literature from the University of London. He taught English at the Universities of Alberta and Saskatchewan for several years before entering the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 1979. After completing his LLB he clerked for Chief Justice Bora Laskin at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Following his clerkship, Professor Klinck joined the Faculty of Law at McGill University, teaching a range of courses during his 27-year career there: Criminal Law, Charter Law, Evidence, Equity and Trusts, Foundations of Canadian Law, Linguistic and Literary Approaches to Law, Common Law Property, and Statutory Interpretation. He was a member (now retired) of the Ontario bar.

In 2010, Professor Klinck retired from McGill, being named Professor Emeritus at that time. After 18 years commuting between Montreal and Fredericton, where his wife Anne, now retired, was an English professor at UNB, he returned full-time to his adoptive home in New Brunswick, where he now lives with Anne and their Lab/Beagle mix, Sally.

Courses taught / current projects

  • Chapter in forthcoming book on the fusion of law and equity
  • Research project on the discourse of “method” in early modern common law
  • Evidence
  • Legislation
  • Trusts

Selected publications

Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern England (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 315 pp.

The Word of the Law: Approaches to Legal Discourse (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1992), 458 pp.

“Lord Nottingham’s ‘Certain Measures’” (2010) 28 Law and History Review 711-48. “Doing ‘Complete Justice’: Equity in the Ontario Court of Chancery” (2006) 32 Queen’s Law Journal 45-81.

“Lord Nottingham and the Conscience of Equity” (2006) 67 Journal of the History of Ideas 123-47.

“’The Nebulous Equitable Duty of Conscience’” (2005) 31 Queen’s Law Journal 206-58.

“Imaging Equity in Early Modern England” (2005) 84 Canadian Bar Review 217-47.

The Unexamined ‘Conscience’ of Contemporary Canadian Equity” (2001) 46 McGill Law Journal 571-614.

“Lord Eldon on ‘Equity’” (1999) 20 Journal of Legal History 51-74.

“Tracing the Imprint of the Chancellor’s Foot in Contemporary Canadian Judicial Discourse” (1998) 13 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 63-98 (co-authored with Loris Mirella).

"Shakespeare's Richard II as Landlord and Wasting Tenant" (1998) 25 College Literature 21-34. Reprinted in K. Myrsiades & L. Myrsiades, Un-disciplining Literature: Literature, Law and Culture (New York: Peter Lang, 1999), 190-205.

"Evidence as Rhetoric: A Semiotic Perspective" (1994) 26 Ottawa Law Review 125-58.

"'This Other Eden': Lord Denning's Pastoral Vision" (1994) 14 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 25-55.

"Tracing a Trace: The Identity of Money in a Legal Doctrine" (1991) 83 Semiotica 1-31.

"'Things of Confidence': Loyalty, Secrecy and Fiduciary Obligation" (1990) 54 Saskatchewan Law Review 73-99.

"Style, Meaning and Knowing: Megarry J. and Denning M.R. in In re_Vandervell's Trusts (No. 2)" (1987) 37 University of Toronto Law Review 358-88.

"Embedded Assertions: Linguistic Considerations in the Rule in St. Lawrence" (1987) 12 Queen’s Law Journal 21-48.

"The Language of Codification" (1989) 14 Queen's Law Journal 33-65.

"McPhail v. Doulton and Certainty of Objects: A 'Semantic' Criticism" (1988) 20 Ottawa Law Review 377-401.

"Style, Meaning and Knowing: Megarry J. and Denning M.R. in In re_Vandervell's Trusts (No. 2)" (1987) 37 University of Toronto Law Review 358-88.

"'The Same Cause or Matter': The Legacy of Kienapple" (1984) 26 Criminal Law Quarterly 280-317.