Photo by Randy deKleine-Stimpson
Professor Malcolm Thorburn, the first Canada Research Chair at Queen's Law
The Government of Canada founded the Canada Research Chair program in 2000 to help strengthen Canada’s position in leading-edge research.
In 2010, a Canada Research Chair (CRC) was awarded to Queen’s Law Professor Malcolm Thorburn, making him the first recipient of this distinguished honour in the Law Faculty’s history. Thorburn’s grant is a renewable Tier 2 Chair, worth $500,000 over five years and awarded to those who are expected to become internationally recognized leaders in their field. In Thorburn’s case, the award is for his topical research on constitutionalism and crime, specializing in security and policing concerns – subjects of urgent and growing concern to Canadians.
The Faculty is reinvesting in the strong research culture at Queen's Law, using a large portion of the funds to support Thorburn's shared work with faculty colleagues and graduate students.
Now that he has received the grant, Thorburn is planning to continue expanding his research on law, security and crime to build a new foundation for debate over the legitimacy of security operations. His first priority is research regarding how the principles of liberal constitutionalism inform our understanding of the criminal justice process. He has argued that these principles give shape and content to such criminal law justification defences as self-defence or lawful arrest. He has also examined how the state's police powers and its authority to respond to emergencies such as terrorist threats are limited by the same principles in important ways.
To add to this exploration of Canadian security and policing practices, Thorburn will go abroad for an international perspective. He will travel to criminology and criminal law theory research institutes in Europe, where he will be researching the history of policing in Paris and the development of post-war German criminal law in Munich. Following that, Thorburn will spend the 2011-12 academic year in England as a visiting fellow at Oxford’s Centre for Criminology, working on legal theory.