Lisa M. Kelly is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University, Faculty of Law, where she teaches criminal law and evidence. She studied history and political science at the University of British Columbia (B.A) and is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (J.D.) and Harvard Law School (S.J.D.), where she was a Trudeau Scholar. Kelly’s doctoral dissertation – Governing the Child: Parental Authority, State Power, and the School in North America – analyzed legal struggles over race and school discipline from the late-nineteenth century through the present. Before joining Queen’s, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia Law School and the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City. She previously served as a law clerk to Justice Marshall E. Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada. Kelly has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow, and a Fellow of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School.


Kelly’s research lies at the intersection of criminal law and family law, with a focus on the historical and contemporary legal regulation of sex, reproduction, and family life.  She is specifically interested in the ways in which competing ideological conceptions of childhood, race, and sexuality influence the work of legal actors and shape our laws and institutions.   

Current projects include:

  • Social and legal constructions of abortion travel
  • Legal history of corporal punishment and the political economy of childhood
  • Shifting boundaries in the disciplinary authority of public schools over students

Recent Publications


  • “The Work of Ideology in Canadian Legal Thought” 74 Supreme Court Law Review 26 (2016); reprinted in Judicious Restraint: The Life and Law of Justice Marshall E. Rothstein (Markham, ON: LexisNexis, 2016).


  • Lisa M. Kelly & Ivo Entchev (eds.), Judicious Restraint: The Life and Law of Justice Marshall E. Rothstein (Markham, ON: LexisNexis, 2016).


  • “Reckoning with Narratives of Innocent Suffering in Transnational Abortion Litigation,” in Rebecca Cook, Joanna Erdman, and Bernard Dickens, eds., Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 303-326.

  • “Banishing Women: The Law and Politics of Abortion Travel” (Introduction with Nicole Tuszynski) 31 Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 25 (2016).