Before this school year got underway, Queen’s Law faculty spent the summer advancing legal research and influencing policy. They were busy writing books and articles and presenting at conferences around the world on a wide range of topics from environmental war crimes and reconstructing Gladue principles to good faith obligations in employment contracts and in contract negotiations. Here is just a sample of some of their latest exciting projects. 

Darryl Robinson produced a chapter on environmental war crimes, environmental crimes against humanity, and the proposed crime of “ecocide” for a handbook on environmental criminal law. He edited a symposium of papers tackling diverse issues in developing a crime of ecocide, which was accompanied by a series of podcasts with authors. He also updated his textbook on international criminal law for publication by Cambridge University Press. In September, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars. 

Ashwini Vasanthakumar was the inaugural George Flannery Visiting Fellow at the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at Sydney Law School. During her two-month fellowship, she gave talks at the JSI Seminar and presented research from her SSHRC-funded project on transitional justice at Melbourne Law School. She worked on her book manuscript, prepared articles on self-respect, and prepared papers for the following: a conference in honour of Joseph Raz at Columbia Law School; an edited volume, Law and Injustice; and an edited volume in honour of Les Green with OUP. She published “On why the poor have duties, too,” in the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy and has a chapter forthcoming in Conversations in Philosophy, Law and Politics. She also gave talks at Duke University, the “Resisting Injustice” conference in Singapore, and delivered the keynote S.J.V. Chelvanayakam Lecture at the University of Toronto on nationalism and minority rights in Sri Lanka. 

Robert Yalden published an article in the June 2023 issue of the Canadian Business Law Journal that explores the good faith obligations that may arise during commercial negotiations when agreements are put in place to facilitate and constrain the negotiation process: “New Perspectives on Good Faith in Contractual Negotiation.” He continued to advance his SSHRC-funded project, Democratic legitimacy of rulemaking in Canadian securities law, which assesses the consequences of governments granting rule-making power to Canadian securities commissions. This project focuses on whether rulemaking is capturing the range of voices that should be heard or whether, because of the way in which the rule-making process is structured, it results in some voices being missed, marginalized, or excluded altogether. He also began work with a team of co-authors, including Mohamed Khimji, on a new edition of R. Yalden et al., Business Organizations: Practice, Theory and Emerging Challenges.

Lisa Kelly presented on the adult/youth distinction in criminal law at the Canadian Association of Law Teachers’ “Teaching Critical Perspectives in Criminal Law” roundtable, arguing that neglecting youth issues in Canadian criminal law teaching and scholarship has significant downsides and suggesting moving youth from the margins to the center of the criminal law field. She presented a chapter from her book project, Courting Danger: How the School Safety Revolution has Transformed Student Life at the Law and Society Association’s annual meeting in Puerto Rico. This book will examine how ideas of “safety” have transformed school life over the past four decades. Her article “Judging Youth Time” contextualizing and critiquing the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on youth appeals in R. v. C.(P.) was published in the Supreme Court Law Review. She’s also working on a new version of Youth Criminal Justice Law (Irwin Law) with Nicholas Bala and Judge Sanjeev Anand.

Kathleen Lahey, who continues to be involved in numerous projects, is also a Steering Committee member for the Global Alliance for Tax Justice’s Tax and Gender Working Group. During a three-day international convening based in Cape Town South Africa, she participated in developing the new five-year plan for the Tax and Gender Working Group itself and led the culminating session on updating the original 2017 Bogata Declaration on Women’s Rights and Tax Justice, which she had developed during an international Tax Justice conference in Bogata, Colombia. 

Michael Pratt had his book, Termination and Rescission of Agreements for the Purchase and Sale of Land, published by LexisNexis. It provides comprehensive answers to questions about when a party is permitted to terminate an agreement for the purchase and sale of land before closing and the circumstances in which a party can rescind such an agreement before the deal closes. This book will be particularly useful to members of the real estate bar in all of the Canadian common law provinces, as well as to other legal professionals whose work involves land transactions, to judges and academics interested in the field of real estate law, and to law students.

Colleen M. Flood began her five-year appointment as Dean on July 1. She also published three co-authored pieces: “How Canada’s decentralised covid-19 response affected public health data and decision making” (British Medical Journal), detailing how fragmented governance hindered Canada’s pandemic response; "Toward a Universal Dental Care Plan: Policy Options for Canada,” reviewing constitutional options by which the federal government establishes universal dental coverage; and “Federal reform of long-term care needs to be more than words” (Globe and Mail), urging a more forceful federal response to the devastation wrought by Covid-19 in long-term care facilities. She also leads an international consortium of experts analyzing the regulation of Artificial Intelligence in health care (Machine M.D.), publishing on topics such as Canada’s regulatory response to the problem of algorithmic bias. She is planning a December workshop with Dean Jane Philpott of Queen’s Health Sciences on law/policy issues in generative AI and primary care.

Debra Haak presented at two conferences: “Whose (Vision of) Equality Matters (Most): Equality Arguments About the Constitutionality of Canada’s Criminal Commercial Sex Laws” at The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities Annual Conference, University of Toronto; and “The Commercial Exchange of Consent: Potential Implications of a Market for Sexual Touching on Criminal Sexual Assault Laws in Canada” at the Canadian Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, York University. Also at York, she participated in a roundtable, “Teaching Critical Perspectives in Criminal Law,” at the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference. In addition, she constructed a new course on Section 7 of the Charter and continued working on a manuscript: “The Commercial Exchange of Sex: Prostitution, Sex Work, Law, and Policy in Canada” (under advance contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press).

Erik Knutsen published a book chapter on civil juries, an article on tort causation, and two updated chapters in his co-authored insurance law treatise Stempel & Knutsen on Insurance Coverage: one on war risk in insurance and the other on excess insurance. He also worked on two books in progress: a book on Canadian insurance coverage and an insurance law casebook. Additionally, he drafted a new article analyzing Canadian insurance coverage decisions over the past decade.

Jacob Weinrib completed his second monograph, entitled Escaping the Impasse in Constitutional Rights Theory, which will be published by the Cambridge University Press. The aim of the book is to confront a basic question at the heart of rights-based constitutionalism: What does it mean to say that judgments about constitutional rights are justified? The manuscript was workshopped by Queen’s students in his upper-year Jurisprudence course. He is grateful to all the students in this course, and to the hundreds of students who, over the years, have “survived” his first-year Constitutional Law course, and whose questions and interventions pushed him deeper into the ideas and themes of this book.  

Lindsay Borrows co-hosted a SSHRC-funded workshop alongside Professor Jess Eisen (U of A Law) titled “Our More-Than-Human Constitutions.” The event, held in Victoria B.C., brought together a small group of scholars, practitioners, community members, and activists to explore different legal approaches to sustain the health of land, water, plants, animals, etc. A related special issue is forthcoming in early 2024 with the Review of Constitutional Studies. She and her summer research student, Samuel Powless, Law’25, looked at how Indigenous Nations across Canada are textualizing their legal traditions through written Constitutions, and how they are approaching the more-than-human world through these foundational documents. She also worked in partnership with the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation to organize a land-based intensive course on Georgian Bay Sept.7-11 that introduced students to Anishinaabe law from the perspective of different community members and through language, ceremony, land, etc. 

Benjamin Ewing put the finishing touches on “Reconstructing Gladue,” a co-authored article with Lisa Kerr (forthcoming in the University of Toronto Law Journal) on the moral foundations of the special principles that govern the sentencing of Indigenous offenders in Canada. He also made significant progress on a longstanding project on affirmative action in criminal justice, a newer paper on the mitigating force of youth in criminal sentencing, and a book review of Tommie Shelby’s The Idea of Prison Abolition.

Lisa Kerr finalized “Reconstructing Gladue,” a co-authored article with Benjamin Ewing, (forthcoming in the University of Toronto Law Journal). The article offers a more comprehensive account of the principles that justify the Gladue sentencing regime and deploys those principles to resolve certain of the chronic difficulties that have arisen in the Gladue caselaw. She also taught in a judicial education program on sentencing law, and conducted research on how judges are responding to 2022 legislation that restored their discretion to impose conditional sentence orders. Additionally, she engaged extensively in public debates about Paul Bernardo’s transfer to a medium security prison.  

Mark Walters, since stepping down as Dean of Law in July, has been co-editing a book of essays with Professor Geneviève Cartier (University of Sherbrooke) entitled The Promise of Legality: Critical Reflections upon the Work of TRS Allan (Hart Publishing). Contributors to this book include leading public law scholars from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. He has also been working with the Treatied Spaces Research Group based at Hull University in the U.K. to organize a conference entitled “Connected Nations: Indigenous Rights and the Royal Proclamation of 1763” to be held at Queen’s, October 6-7. 

Cherie Metcalf published an article on climate change and federal vs. provincial powers in the National Journal of Constitutional Law. She presented research related to adaptation to extreme climate events at the Queen’s / U of Ottawa Public Law Workshop, the Sustainability Conference at the University of Arizona, and the Environmental Law & Economics Conference at the University of Cambridge, U.K. She presented a project on tort liability (that relates to environmental claims) at the American Law & Economics Conference at Boston University and at Western Law. She also worked on planning a conference on legal institutions and effective climate action to be held at Queen’s Law in December. Helping her this summer were three “wonderful RAs”: Hanna Colbert, Sophia D’Souza, and Isaac Wai Hin Tsang. 

Mary-Jo Maur wrote a paper, forthcoming in the Canadian Family Law Quarterly, critiquing the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Ahluwalia v. Ahluwalia – that there should not be a separate tort of “family violence.” She argues that “coercive control” is an attack on a victim’s autonomy, whereas other torts deal with attacks on a victim’s body and mental health. She argues the real damage in family violence is often the attack on a victim’s will, decision-making ability, and freedom. This type of attack “cries out for a remedy” (Justice Sharpe, Jones v .Tsige). Noting that family violence, particularly violence against women, is endemic in Canada, she concludes that a tort of coercive control would help victims who suffer from controlling partners in ways that other torts cannot.

Grégoire Webber was a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford and Villey Fellow at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2) in May and June. During these visits, he presented work in progress on two book projects at Oxford, Paris 2, and the London School of Economics. A first project, entitled The Political Constitutions, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. A second explores the philosophical foundations of law by reference to the pursuit of value. In addition, he finalized forthcoming articles on the Charter's notwithstanding clause, the relationship of rights to a free and democratic society, and the role of opposition under a constitution.

Sharry Aiken started a new research project on equality rights in the immigration context with Colin Grey; completed a short chapter for a book on genocide, co-published by the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture; co-authored an article on immigration detention for Mondi Migranti; and published a special issue of the PKI Global Justice Journal on refugee responsibility sharing agreements with co-editor-in-chief Alex Neve. She also continued to advise the Canadian Council for Refugees’ legal team on a Charter challenge of the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, now heading back to Federal Court on the question of equality rights violations.

Martha Bailey has been preparing a chapter for the book The Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children: A Commentary, to be published as part of the series Elgar Commentaries in Private International Law. As well, she has been researching the treatment of civilian populations under the law of war, specifically the development of the Lieber Code, the first modern codification of the law of war, during the American Civil War. In late August, she received the newly published Teaching Family Law, for which she wrote a chapter. 

Nick Bala presented two invited papers: one on shared parenting for the Ontario Bar Association; and one on parenting issues for Alberta family lawyers and judges. His paper on stepparents’ child support obligations is forthcoming in the Canadian Family Law Quarterly. He gave several online presentations of work with Dr. Peter Jaffe and colleagues on family violence as a factor in parenting disputes, to be published by the Department of Justice this fall. He presented research on litigation abuse in family cases (with Ella Benedetti and Sydney Franzmann, both Law’23) at the International Society of Family Law Conference in Belgium and submitted a paper for publication. Bala and Western professors Claire Houston, Law’07 (Law) and Rachel Birnbaum (Social Work) gave several online presentations of their Law-Foundation-of-Ontario-funded project on the pandemic’s effect on family justice and submitted a paper for publication. He and Birnbaum also worked on a Canadian-Foundation-for-Legal-Research-funded project on parental alienation cases.

Kevin Banks submitted final drafts for publication of forthcoming articles on freedom of association at common law, good faith obligations in employment contracts, and the new rapid response labour rights dispute settlement mechanism of the Canada-United States-Mexico Free Trade Agreement. In addition, together with Queen’s Law cross-appointee Richard Chaykowski of Queen’s Employment Relations Program he advanced a volume of papers on how economic and technological changes are affecting the institutional foundations of work law and policy in Canada.

More to follow soon.

(Last updated Oct. 5, 2023)