Sharry Aiken is an Associate Professor at Queen’s Law with a cross appointment to Cultural Studies. She is an expert on immigration and refugee law and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of precedent setting immigration cases.

Professor Aiken studied political science at York University and the University of Toronto and law at Osgoode Hall Law School. She teaches immigration law, refugee law, administrative law, law and poverty, public international law, and international human rights law. She has taught international refugee law at the American University in Cairo, and international criminal law in Osgoode’s professional LLM program. She is a two-time winner of the Queen’s LSS Award for Teaching Excellence.

Professor Aiken has spent a great deal of her career advocating for human rights and social justice. She launched and managed an innovative legal literacy project in Northern Ontario, worked as a staff lawyer with community legal clinics in Toronto, and established a private practice in immigration and refugee law. She is a past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), a former member of the Equality Rights Panel of the Court Challenges Programme of Canada, and the former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Refuge. Currently she is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and an active member of the CCR’s Legal Affairs Committee. 

Professor Aiken convened the workshop “De-Carceral Futures: Bridging Prison and Immigration Justice” at Queen’s Law in May 2019., which sparked a broader public conversation about immigration detention and its consequences. 


  • Migration law and policy
  • Border security and critical terrorism studies
  • Constructions of citizenship in ethnically divided societies

Recent Professional Achievements

  • Seneca College, 6th Annual Immigrant and Refugees Forum Award, 2016
  • Visiting Professor, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, 2016
  • Appeared in the documentary film, The Secret Trial 5 (premiered at Hot Docs Festival, Toronto, 2014)
  • Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research) 2010–2014