Penelope Simons
Penelope Simons
Professeure agrégée

PCTHE - Oxford Brookes University
Ph.D. - University of Cambridge
LL.M. - University of Cambridge
LL.B. - Dalhousie University
BA - University of British Columbia

57 Rue Louis Pasteur, pièce 364
Numéro de téléphone 
Bureau : 613-562-5800 poste 3217
Fax: 613-562-5124


Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Penelope Simons attended UBC where she studied French and Italian language and literature. After completing an LL.M. and a Ph.D. in International Law at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., she finished her LL.B. at Dalhousie University. Penelope Simons was called to the British Columbia Bar and practiced corporate and commercial law at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Vancouver. She subsequently worked in the nongovernmental sector on peace and disarmament issues. It was during this time that she participated in the Canadian Assessment Mission to Sudan (the Harker Mission) which was established and dispatched by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to investigate allegations of slavery, as well as, links between oil development in Sudan and grave violations of human rights. Prior to coming to the University of Ottawa in 2007, Professor Simons was a Senior Lecturer in Law at Oxford Brookes University in the UK.

Penelope Simons’ research is focused on the human rights implications of domestic and transnational business activity and particularly on natural resource extraction, and how best to regulate such activity to protect human rights and prevent and mitigate other harm.She also considers the intersections between transnational corporate activity, human rights and international economic law. Her current work is on gender and resource extraction.

Service and Activity

  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal (Cambridge University Press)
  • Member of Editorial Board of Edward Elgar Publishing’s Elgar Studies in Human Rights
  • Vice President and Founding Member of the Board of the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars’ Association
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of International Law
  • Member of the Working Group on the Professional Training for Lawyers and Barristers in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Member of the the SSHRC-funded Canadian Partnership on Strengthening Justice for International Crimes 
  • Member of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre
  • Interim Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, 2013-2014.

Awards and Honours


  • Human Rights (International Protection) (CML 3399)
  • Transnational Corporations, Human Rights and International Economic Law (CML 4124)
  • Public International Law (CML 3131 and CML 1109A)
  • Business Organizations (CML 2302)
  • Directed Research in support of the Mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing (CML 3351

Selected Publications


  • P. Simons & A. Macklin, The Governance Gap: Extractive Industries, Human Rights, and the Home State Advantage (Routledge, 2014).
  • J.A. VanDuzer, P Simons & G Mayeda, Integrating Sustainable Development into International Investment Agreements: A Guide for Developing Country Negotiators (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2013).
  • W. Shan, P. Simons & D. Singh (eds) Redefining Sovereignty in International Economic Law (Hart Publishing, 2008).

Journal Articles

  • P. Simons and Melisa Handl, "Relations of Ruling: A Feminist Critique of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Violence against Women in the Context of Resource Extraction" (2019) 31:1 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 113-150.
  • P. Simons, “Unsustainable International Law: Transnational Resource Extraction and Violence against Women” (2017) 26:2 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems 415-434.
  • P. Simons “Canada’s Enhanced CSR Strategy: Human Rights Due Diligence and Access to Justice for Victims of Extraterritorial Corporate Human Rights Abuses” (2015) 56:2 Canadian Business Law Journal 167-207.
  • P. Simons, “International Law’s Invisible Hand and the Future of Corporate Accountability for Violations of Human Rights” (2012) 3:1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 5-43.
  • P. Simons & L. Collins, “Participatory Rights in the Ontario Mining Sector: An International Human Rights Perspective” (2010) 6:2 McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law & Policy 177-216.
  • R. McCorquodale & P. Simons, “Responsibility Beyond Borders: State Responsibility for Extraterritorial Violations by Corporations of International Human Rights Law” (2007) 70 Modern Law Review 598-625.   

Chapters in Books:

  • P. Simons, “The Value-Added of a Treaty to Regulate Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises: Moving Forward Strategically” in S. Deva and D. Bilchitz (eds) Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
  • P. Simons, “Selectivity in Law-Making: Regulating Extraterritorial Environmental Harm and Human Rights Violations by Transnational Extractive Corporations” in A Grear & L Kotze (eds) Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015).
  • J.A. VanDuzer, P. Simons & G. Mayeda, “Modeling International Investment Agreements for Economic Development”, in V Qalo (ed) Bilateralism and Development: Emerging Trade Patterns (Cameron May, London, 2008) 359-410.
  • P. Simons, “Binding the Hand that Feeds Them: Sovereignty, the Agreement on Agriculture, Transnational Corporations, and the Right to Adequate Food in Developing Countries”, in W. Shan, P. Simons, D. Singh (eds) Redefining Sovereignty in International Economic Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford 2008), 399-427.