Lisa Kerr teaches courses on criminal law, sentencing and prison law and she serves as the Director of the Criminal Law Group at Queen's Law.
Professor Kerr earned her JD at the University of British Columbia. She clerked with the BC Court of Appeal and was an associate at Fasken Martineau. She also served as staff lawyer at Prisoners’ Legal Services, Canada’s only dedicated legal aid office for prisoners.
Professor Kerr earned an LLM and JSD at New York University, where she was named a Trudeau Scholar. Her research focuses on punishment theory and the comparative study of criminal law, sentencing policy and prisoner rights. Professor Kerr has published a number of papers and opinion pieces in law journals and newspapers on these topics.
Professor Kerr is invested in litigation as an instrument of social change, and she engages extensively in pro bono litigation work. For several years, she has worked with Pivot Legal Society on a campaign to decriminalize sex work. She has worked with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and with the John Howard Society of Canada in efforts to abolish solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. Professor Kerr also supports the strategic litigation work of the Queen's Prison Law Clinic.
- Adjudicating the Risks of Confinement: Bail and Sentencing During COVID-19 (Criminal Reports, 2020, co-authored with Kristy-Ann Dubé)
- “Methods and Severity: The Two Tracks of Section 12” (2020) 94 S.C.L.R. (2d) 235 (co-authored with Benjamin Berger)
- “The End Stage of Solitary Confinement” (2019) 55 Criminal Reports (7th) 382.
- "How the Prison is a Black Box in Punishment Theory" (2019) University of Toronto Law Journal Vol. 69, Issue 1, 85-116
- "Sentencing Ashley Smith: How Prison Conditions Relate to the Aims of Punishment" (2017) Canadian Journal of Law and Society Vol. 32, No. 2, 187–207
- “The Legitimate Scope of Criminal Law: A Question for Legal History?” (2017) Critical Analysis of Law, Vol. 4, No. 1, 11–21
- "'They Want In': Sex Workers and Legitimacy Debates In the Law of Public Interest Standing" (2017) 80 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 145–175
- “Judging a Joint Submission: Comparing the US and Canada on the Judicial Role in Plea Bargaining” (2017) 32 Criminal Reports (7th), 22–30
- “The Right to Maximum Prisoner Liberty?” (2016) 26 Criminal Reports 7th, 245–250
- “Easy Prisoner Cases” (2015) 71 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 235-262
- "The Chronic Failure to Control Prisoner Isolation in US and Canadian Law” (2015) Queen's Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2, 483–530
- “The Origins of Unlawful Prison Policies” (2015) Canadian Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 4, No. 1, 91-119
- “Contesting Expertise in Prison Law” (2014) McGill Law Journal Vol. 60, No. 1, 43-94
Book Reviews and Review Essays
- “How to End Mass Imprisonment: the Legal and Cultural Strategies of Bryan Stevenson”(2017) University of Toronto Law Journal Vol. 67, 104-123
- “Choice Talk” review of Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers: Outlaws by Choice? by Angela Campbell (Ashgate Publishing, 2013) in (2017) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law Vol. 28, No. 3
- Review of Appealing to Justice: Prisoner Grievances, Rights and Carceral Logic by Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness (University of California Press, 2014) in British Journal of Criminology (2017)
- “How Sentencing Reform Movements Impact Women” in Julian Roberts and David Cole, eds, Sentencing in Canada: Essays in Law, Policy and Practice (Irwin Law Publishers, 2020).
- "Making Prisoner Rights Real: the Case of Mothers" in Sharon Dolovich and Alexandra Natapoff, eds, The New Criminal Justice Thinking (NYU Press, 2017)