Joshua Karton teaches and writes about international arbitration, comparative and international contract law, uniform law, globalization and law, international legal theory, and sociological analysis of law. His writing explores what happens when private actors from different backgrounds—legal, cultural, and linguistic—meet in the international legal arena.

Professor Karton has taught at Queen's since 2009. He holds a BA in International Relations and Humanities from Yale, a JD from Columbia Law School, and a PhD in International Law from Cambridge. Before commencing his doctoral studies, he practiced in litigation and arbitration in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. A proficient speaker of Mandarin Chinese with a longstanding interest in Asia, he has held visiting positions at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the National Taiwan University, and Wuhan University (China).

Professor Karton is an internationally recognized expert on international commercial dispute resolution, especially international arbitration. He has received wide recognition for his research, including the International and Comparative Law Quarterly Young Scholar Award and the James Crawford Prize of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. He has presented his research at academic and practitioner conferences around the world, including the American Society of Comparative Law Annual Conference, the American Society of International Law Research Forum, the Harvard-Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum, the Asian Law Institute Annual Conference, and the biennial Obligations conference.

Much of Professor Karton’s work is interdisciplinary, influenced in particular by sociological theories and methods. His sociology of the international arbitration field, The Culture of International Arbitration and the Evolution of Contract Law, was published in 2013 to great acclaim in the academic and practitioner press. He is also closely engaged with international arbitration practice as a consultant and as a member of various task forces, working parties, and other practitioner groups.

A winner of the Queen’s Law Student Society Award for Teaching Excellence, Professor Karton is passionately dedicated to teaching, especially to experiential education. He is particularly proud of his involvement with the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, at which he has coached three different universities to prize-winning results.


Research Foci:

  • International Arbitration
  • Contract Law
  • Transnational Commercial Law
  • Globalization and Law 
  • International Legal Theory

Teaching Subjects:

  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Contracts
  • Commercial Law
  • Legal Research Methods and Perspectives
  • Comparative Contract Law

Recent Professional Achievements:

  • Selected to present a paper on “Sectoral Fragmentation of Transnational Commercial Law” at the American Society of Comparative Law Annual Conference and the American Society of International Law Annual Research Forum (2016)
  • Visiting Professor, National Taiwan University and Chinese University of Hong Kong (2016)
  • Named to the International Chamber of Commerce Task Force on Maximizing the Probative Value of Witness Evidence in International Arbitrations (2016)
  • James Crawford Prize for best article of the year in the Journal of International Dispute Settlement (2015)
  • Chair, Affiliates Advisory Group of the American Society of Comparative Law Younger Comparativists Committee (2014-2016)
  • Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant, for a project entitled “An Exploration of The International Arbitrator’s Duty to Apply the Law” (2013-2016)

Representative Publications:

For a full list of publications, please consult Professor Karton's CV.

  • The Culture of International Arbitration and the Evolution of Contract Law (Oxford University Press 2013) 312pp.
  • "The Arbitral role in Contractual Interpretation" Journal of international Dispute Settlement (2015) 6(1) 1-38
    Awarded the 2015 JIDS James Crawford Prize for best article of the year
  • “New Wine in Old Bottles: Corrupt Foreign Contracts in Canadian Private Law” (with Jenna-Dawn Shervill) in Michael Joachim Bonell and Olaf Meyer (eds), The Civil Law Consequences of Corruption in International Commercial Contracts 37-75 (Springer 2015) 
  • “International Arbitration Culture and Global Governance” in Walter Mattli and Thomas Dietz (eds), International Arbitration and Global Governance: Contending Theories and Evidence 74-116 (Oxford University Press 2014) 
  • “Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Lessons from International Uniform Law” (2014) 11(1) Transnational Dispute Management
    Reprinted as “Lessons from International Uniform Law” in Jean E Kalicki and Anna Joubin-Bret (eds), Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: In Search of a Roadmap (Brill | Nijhoff 2015)
  • “Canadian Courts and Uniform Interpretation: An Empirical Reality Check” (with Samantha Wynne) (2013) 18(2) Uniform Law Review 281-312
  • “A Conflict of Interests: Seeking a Way Forward on Publication of International Arbitral Awards” (2012) 28(3) Arbitration International 447-486
  • “Contract Law in International Commercial Arbitration: the Case of Suspension of Performance” (2009) 58(4) International and Comparative Law Quarterly 863-896
    Awarded the 2009 ICLQ Young Scholar Prize
  • “Has the CISG Advisory Council Come of Age?” (with Lorraine de Germiny) (2009) 27(3) Berkeley Journal of International Law 448-495