The Saskatchewan Law Review, as it is known today, first appeared as a journal in 1936 and was called the Saskatchewan Bar Review. It was published by the Law Society of Saskatchewan and edited by two members of the Saskatchewan Bar: David M. Tyerman and Stuart D. Thom. Its publication followed the merger of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Bar Association in 1935, and was intended to provide a forum for lawyers of the province to express opinions and present proposals for change or reform. The editors were ready to print "any serious discussion or comment upon the affairs of the profession, no matter how critical" but contributions were also expected to come from the dean and his staff and students at the College of Law. Although Saskatchewan lawyers had previously received the Law Society's publication, The Gazette, Frederick C. Cronkite, the college's dean at that time, believed the periodical would "serve to convey much information to its readers as to the progress of the law, a service of particular value to practitioners not conveniently located with respect to a law library."
The first Editorial Board of the Review was composed of Thom, Tyerman, Dean Cronkite, and a representative of the benchers. In March 1940 however, Dean Cronkite wrote, in response to a letter from Thom, that he felt that he had not really been an editor but would be willing "to give just as much assistance and just as much thought to the publication as if I were an editor. The future of the review is a matter in which I am very deeply interested, so you have my permission to consider me as an editor in spirit, if that will be of any assistance to you."
In January 1943, Cronkite and the faculty of the college began editing the Review due to the absence of Thom and Tyerman, who were serving in the armed forces. This practice continued until 1963, when the editorial duties were first shared with students of the college. Students assembled and edited material submitted by other students for publication.
The 1960s were a period of great change at the College of Law. Students, staff, and faculty were anticipating the move to a new building, and the college had recently started offering graduate courses. It seemed like an appropriate time to contemplate a new title for the journal. In 1967 the publication changed its name from the Saskatchewan Bar Review to the Saskatchewan Law Review. The change in title reflected a growing feeling the journal had become more of an academic publication rather than one purely directed toward the practicing profession. The name continues to emphasize the close connection between the Review and the college, and the importance of the Review as a medium for legal scholarship and debate.
At that time, it was also contemplated that students should receive class credit for working on the Saskatchewan Law Review and an exemption from the elective seminars in third-year law studies if they produced a case comment or statute note. Today, students receive a class credit for their participation on the Editorial Board of the Saskatchewan Law Review. They also write book notes and papers, some of which are published in the periodical.
In 1972, the Law Review began publication of a magazine supplement called Quaere. Although the publication was short-lived, publishing only five volumes, it was dedicated as "a vehicle for...critical ideas, and as a possible stimulus to change in the law." The editors envisioned that Quaere would complement the Review by providing a forum for research that would ordinarily not be published in a scholarly work in the field of law. It published articles that were topical, and unstructured comments on the law rather than "academic excursion into the law." The publication met with mixed reviews from the Law Society of Saskatchewan and members of the bar, which may have been the reason for its short life.
Since 1963, many University of Saskatchewan law students have been part of the Editorial Board of the Saskatchewan Bar Review and the Saskatchewan Law Review. A few notable examples include: Justice G.W. Baynton of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench; Justices M.A. Gerwing, G.A. Smith, and Neal Caldwell of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal; Justice C. Hunt of the Alberta Court of Appeal; Justice P.J. McIntyre of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench; C. Chartier, President of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan; and University of Saskatchewan law professors Ronald Cuming, Ken Norman, Beth Bilson, Tim Quigley and Dwight Newman.
The review has published works by many familiar names in the legal community: Justice Emmett M. Hall, Justice Gerald Le Dain, Chief Justice Bora Laskin, Justice Bertha Wilson, Chief Justice Edward D. Bayda, and scholars such as Richard H. Bartlett, Alan Cairns, Eric Colvin, Peter W. Hogg, W.R. Lederman, and W.H. McConnell.