Doctor of Civil Law

Doctor of Civil Law is a degree offered by some universities, such as the University of Oxford, instead of the more common Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degrees.

At Oxford, the degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma is customarily conferred on foreign Heads of State, as well as on the Chancellor of the University. (The British Sovereign is unable to receive university degrees, since these would, theoretically, place her under the jurisdiction of the Chancellor of the university. Prior to her accession, the present Queen did accept several honorary degrees, including an Oxford DCL in 1948).

The degree is a higher doctorate usually awarded on the basis of exceptionally insightful and distinctive publications that contain significant and original contributions to the study of law or politics in general. The degree of Doctor of Canon Law was replaced by the DCL after the Reformation.

The DCL is senior to all degrees save the Doctor of Divinity which was traditionally the highest degree bestowed by the Universities.

In some other universities, the DCL is an honorary degree.

The following other higher institutions also grant DCL:

  • University of Durham, United Kingdom
  • University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • University of Kent, Kent, United Kingdom
  • McGill University Faculty of Law, Montreal, Quebec Canada
  • Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
  • Pontifical Lateran University, Rome
  • Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Philippines
  • Yale University School of Law


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    Waldemar Young, U.S. screenwriter. Erle C. Kenton. Sayer of the Law (Bela Lugosi)

    It seems to me that your doctor [Tronchin] is more of a philosopher than a physician. As for me, I much prefer a doctor who is an optimist and who gives me remedies that will improve my health. Philosophical consolations are, after all, useless against real ailments. I know only two kinds of sickness—physical and moral: all the others are purely in the imagination.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)

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    Emma Goldman (1869–1940)