Source: A Brief Introduction to Law in Canada (Mar. 2017). p. 265 Middle.

Historically, in Canada, there was debate over rival methods for teaching law. Some members of the legal community believed that traditional English vocational methods for training lawyers should be followed. These methods were based on an apprenticeship model where- by law students served "under articles," and obtained practical experience and direct knowledge of the law by working with and under the supervision of a practising lawyer. This training could also be supplemented with law society lectures. On the other side of the legal education debate were those who favoured the idea of formal university training at a recognized law school, where professors (rather than practising lawyers) taught the law. The debate was resolved in favour of the current model, which combines academic course-work with articling requirements.4

an apprenticeship under a practising lawyer

4 William H Hurlburt, The Self-Regulation of the Legal Profession in Canada and in England and Wales (Calgary and Edmonton: Law Society of Alberta/ Alberta Law Reform Institute, 2000) at 69-78.

How did "article" semantically specialize to this legal signification?


1 Answer 1


There is no generalisation. The "articles" are articles of clerkship. The context permits the implication of that specific usage, in the same way that talking about "cars" at a racetrack isn't a generalisation of the word "car" - it's an implication of specifically racecars.

Ancestry.co.uk explains well what the articles actually are. Briefly, they are simply fixed-term apprenticeship contracts between an established practicing lawyer and a student who wishes to become a lawyer.

  • 3
    It is the opposite of a generalization, it is a specialization.
    – user6726
    Mar 10, 2018 at 15:59
  • 1
    See also articles of incorporation/association/organisation, confederation, and impeachment.
    – sjy
    Mar 13, 2018 at 0:59

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