Lisa M. Kelly is an Associate 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.

In 2018, she received the Stanley M. Corbett Award for Teaching Excellence.


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

Professor Kelly is currently leading a SSHRC-funded project on police powers in Canadian schools. 

Selected Publications

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