514-848-2424, ext. 4853
Legal Services is the unit that is responsible for the provision of all legal services to Concordia University and for managing the Office of Student Tribunals.
The University is a large, multifaceted environment in which the efficient delivery of quality legal services is critical. With an annual budget in excess of $450 million, over 7,000 employees, 13 bargaining units, over $30 million spent annually on Research, a Foundation, a Pension Fund, millions of dollars in annual donations, intricate donor agreements, approximately 60 properties of a varied nature owned by the University, ongoing maintenance and construction projects, the frequent adoption of new legislation to which the University is subject and the many other operations of the University, its legal obligations are similar and, in some cases, more complex than those faced by very large corporations.
First and foremost, the mission of Legal Services is to protect the interests of the University by providing practical, efficient and strategic legal advice. Legal Services is committed to good governance and best practices as it anticipates the needs of its Concordia partners in order to advance the University’s core academic, research and community engagement missions. In fulfillment of this mission, among other things, Legal Services:
- Remains abreast of legislative developments affecting the University and disseminates information to the University community regarding these developments;
- Provides a full-range of legal services to the University and to administrative units through the University’s senior administration, the Deans and administrative heads of units;
- Identifies and recommends procedures and practices to protect the University from liability;
- Assists with the development of University policies;
- Acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ of the University’s trademarks, official marks and logos, and monitors the use of these trademarks, official marks and logos, taking action when necessary;
- Participates in special initiatives and sensitive projects on an as-needed basis;
- Oversees and manages the Office of Student Tribunals;
- Provides seminars and other education-oriented initiatives on legal issues affecting the University; and
- When necessary, retains, instructs and oversees external legal counsel on behalf of the University and manages the costs of legal services in an effective and cost efficient manner.
Legal Services and the members of the Legal Services team strive to establish themselves as leaders in their specific areas of expertise so as to safeguard and enhance Concordia’s reputation and place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the world.
The University has an updated Policy on Contract Review, Signing and Required Approvals (BD-1) effective June 7, 2013, which authorizes certain individuals to sign particular contracts that create obligations on behalf of the University. This Policy outlines the signing authority for a wide array of contracts and includes sections regarding the responsibility of signing officers, the management of contracts and the mandatory legal review of certain contracts.
Agreements that bind the University
Employees of the University (including Directors, Department Heads and Deans) are not authorized to bind the University to contracts or to create any obligations or undertakings on behalf of the University unless they have been authorized to do so pursuant to a resolution or unless authority to do so exists under the Policy on Contract Review, Signing and Required Approvals (BD-1).
A contract is an agreement that is legally enforceble, but it is essential to keep in mind that regardless of the title of a document, obligations and undertakings on the part of the University can be created even in a Memoranda of Understanding, a License, a Letter of Agreement and, in some instances, even in a letter of intent or other less formal documents. If in doubt, contact Legal Services.
Indemnities that bind the University
An indemnity is an undertaking to hold another party harmless and/or to defend them. Even if an employee has authority to sign a contract, in principle, the granting of an indemnity by the University is not permitted. Please contact Legal Services for more information if you are called upon to sign any form of agreement or other document on behalf of the University that contains this type of clause.
Often, agreements and other documents submitted to the University for signature will contain what appear to be ‘standard-form’ insurance and indemnity provisions. The University has extensive insurance coverage in place, but no employee of the University (including Directors, Department Heads and Deans) should agree to a specific type or amount of insurance coverage. All insurance provisions must be reviewed by a member of the Legal Services team and more often than not, by the University’s Insurance and Liability specialist.
In addition to the general principles pertaining to Signing Authority, in accordance with the Policy on Contract Review, Signing and Required Approvals (BD-1), many agreements must be reviewed for legal compliance and approved by Legal Services before being signed. See the full text of the Memorandum dealing with Mandatory Review by Legal Services.
On a regular basis, Legal Services analyzes the need for a waiver to be prepared and signed by people participating in a particular ‘University activity’. These waivers are often necessary to sensitize participants to the risks associated with an activity and to ensure that each person knows what to expect from the other.
If you are organizing this type of ‘University activity’ (whether on or off campus) that may involve a risk to participants, contact Me Alison Beck, Associate Legal Counsel to assist you with the preparation of an appropriate waiver.
Concordia University has a number of policies, covering topics such as behaviour, student life and academics, human resources and employee relations, operations, safety and security. Policies are important because they guide the University’s practice and help ensure our compliance with laws, regulations and government requirements.
Many of these policies are applicable across the Concordia community. It is the responsibility of each member of the Concordia community to be aware of the existence of these policies and to be familiar with those policies that are relevant to the member’s activities.
Concordia University has a vested interest in the protection and regulation of its name as well as its trademarks, official marks, logos and/or related insignia, which taken as a whole create the University’s signature. Accordingly, the University has adopted the policy entitled Policy on the Use of Concordia’s Name, Logo and Related Insignia, and the Governance of its Visual Character (SG-4).
This policy applies to internal and external representations, whether printed or electronic, which make use of Concordia University’s name, trademarks, official marks, logos and/or related insignia and the University’s image as a whole. Among other things, this policy requires that anyone who wishes to use the University’s name, trademark(s), official mark(s), logo(s), or related insignia must obtain the University’s prior permission and that any use must be in a manner that is consistent with the reputation and goals of the University.
Legal Services oversees the registration of the University’s trademarks and official marks, a list of which may be found at:
- Table of marks registered by Concordia
Last updated: September 7, 2018
Legal Services acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ of the University’s trademarks, official marks and logos and monitors their use, taking action when necessary.
If you would like to use the name “Concordia”, “Concordia University”, or “Université Concordia”, or the University’s logo and/or insignia, you must apply for and obtain prior permission from the University’s Board of Governors. Applications for permission may be found at: