Military justice – or a lack of it – was what inspired Chris Waters to pursue his PhD in law at Queen’s.
“I had several negative experiences with justice writ large,” he says of his career in the military: “I had attended many summary trials in my career and grew increasingly concerned about the potential abuses of authority inherent in the system. I was a member of a panel for a Court Martial in 1987 for serious charges of drug trafficking; watching trail counsel in action from the bench is motivating for someone not legally trained. Several years later I was a staff officer analysing and drafting responses to grievances; again, I was appalled at the treatment of some complainants. Finally, the Somalia Crisis and the aftermath was the catalyst for my choosing a change of career to law.”
Once the decision was made, Chris – a Kingston resident of long standing – began to pursue his studies at Queen’s, a decision made easy by its proximity to the Canadian Forces base where he was stationed and working, among other things, as Director of the Forces’ JAG school. “A graduate degree was an unwritten but widely acknowledged prerequisite for progression,” he says. “I was also expected to teach law to others, and needed further education in legal method, research and pedagogy to excel in that role.”
Waters is happy in Kingston, “the best mid-sized city in Canada, with no overcrowding, full access to education and recreation, a vibrant city core and a very peaceful place to live,” and pleased to be working with faculty member Darryl Robinson. “Darryl is an accomplished practitioner and educator in international law, and he has given me excellent guidance on improving my research and writing skills – the most important attributes of graduate work,” Chris says.
Chris intends to teach once his doctorate is complete, and is taking advantage of the many opportunities Queen’s Law has to practice the craft. “Seek as many teaching opportunities (Teaching Assistantships; Teaching Fellowships; guest lecturing) as you can manage,” he advises future graduate students; “and attend every guest speaker talk that your schedule permits.”
BA (Economics), University of Manitoba, 1992
MBA, University of New Brunswick, 1997
LLB, University of New Brunswick, 2000
LLM, Queen's University, 2007
Book Review: Waters, Christopher S. "Reappraising the Resort to Force: International Law, Jus ad bellum and the War on Terror, by Lindsay Moir." Osgoode Hall Law Journal 48.3/4 (2010) : 703-709.