Joshua Karton teaches and writes about international dispute resolution (especially international arbitration), international and comparative contract law, transnational legal theory, globalization and law, and linguistic issues in 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 worked in litigation and arbitration in the New York and Hong Kong offices of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. A proficient speaker of Chinese with a longstanding interest in Asian law, culture, and politics, Professor Karton has lived in several Asian countries and has held visiting professorships at the National Taiwan University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Wuhan University.

Professor Karton is an internationally recognized expert on international 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, and has presented his research at academic and practitioner conferences around the world.

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. Currently, he is a co-lead investigator on the largest-ever empirical study of international arbitration practice, The Social and Psychological Underpinnings of Commercial Arbitration in Europe, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. His research has also been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Professor Karton is a co-Book Review Editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law, a co-founder and the Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration, a member of the advisory committee of the Contemporary Asia Arbitration Journal, and an editorial advisor to the Africa Arbitration Blog. He is also General Editor of Kluwer Arbitration Practical Content, a new online research service for international arbitration practitioners.

Aside from his scholarly activities, Professor Karton is actively engaged in international arbitration practice as a consultant and arbitrator. He is a member of various arbitration panels, the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, and the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, and is an instructor for the Africa Arbitration Academy.

A winner of Queen’s Law Student Society Award for Teaching Excellence, Professor Karton is passionately dedicated to teaching. 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:

  • Presented “International Commercial Arbitration as Comparative Law in Action” at the opening plenary of the American Society of Comparative Law Annual Meeting (2019)
  • Awarded a SSHRC Institutional Grant for a project entitled “Transnational Precedent” (2019) -
  • Taught at the inaugural session of the Africa Arbitration Academy (2019)
  • Named General Editor of Kluwer Arbitration Practical Content (2019)
  • Co-Founded and became Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration (2018)
  • Appointed co-Book Review Editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law (2018)
  • Awarded a UK Economic & Social Research Council Research Grant worth over £1,000,000, for a project entitled “The Social and Psychological Underpinnings of Commercial Arbitration in Europe” (2018)
  • Delivered the annual Carmigniani Perez Lecture on Business Law, entitled “The Business of Justice and the Justice of Business” at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador (2018)

Representative Publications:

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