The Common Law Section’s Research Chairs are leaders in their fields whose expertise is recognized nationally and internationally. Research chairs are supported institutionally so that they can continue to engage in ground-breaking research and lead major projects that contribute to the education of our students, while training and mentoring future researchers and generating opportunities for collaboration with other researchers.

Canada Research Chairs

Michael Geist

Michael Geist – Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law (Tier 1)

Dr. Michael Geist explores myriad legal, policy and governance questions surrounding the Internet and e-commerce, with an emphasis on copyright, privacy, communications and the digital economy. He asks whether Canada’s current digital economy legal frameworks can adequately foster public confidence by addressing next-generation Internet and technology issues.  Dr. Geist’s research influences the development of recommendations for Canada’s digital economy strategy and its governance based on the emerging technological and legal landscape. It also results in increased public participation regarding digital economy policy.

Teresa Scassa

Teresa Scassa – Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy (Tier 1)

Data and information play a central role in all aspects of human activity. This role is growing as digital sensors transform almost every action into new data. Big data and artificial intelligence dominate headlines with stories about self-driving cars, “smart” appliances, and digital personal assistants. At the same time, other headlines tell us of massive data security breaches, state intrusions on privacy rights, digital profiling, surveillance and discrimination. Information technologies are transforming our society at what seems to be an accelerating pace, and while they may bring many benefits, they also pose significant risks and challenges. Teresa Scassa’s work explores the interrelated concepts of ownership, control, and transparency in this rapidly evolving information context. She examines how claims to ownership of data and information are asserted, by whom, and on what basis; what rights exist to access to and use data in the hands of others; and how transparency in data-driven decision-making in both public and private sectors can be achieved.

University Research Chairs

Aimee Craft

Aimée Craft – URC on Indigenous governance in relation to land and water

Professor Aimée Craft was awarded the University Research Chair on Nibi miinawaa aki inaakonigewin – Indigenous governance in relation to land and water, in 2021. The Chair supports her continued work on Indigenous water law, policy, and sustainability; the reclamation of Indigenous birthing practices as catalysts for wellness and the re-affirmation of territorial sovereignty; and the recognition of Indigenous understandings of treaties as part of the Canadian reconciliation imperative. Professor Craft is widely recognized for her research on Indigenous laws, treaties, and water. Her work centers on interdisciplinary, land-based and community-led research that is grounded in partnerships and inter-generational knowledge transmission. Her recent scholarship has primarily focused on the philosophical underpinnings of Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (law) and Indigenous legal orders more generally. This research has implications in relation to health, social policy, Indigenous resurgence, political discourse, resource management, and administrative and judicial decision-making.

Paul Daly

Paul Daly – University Research Chair in Administrative Law and Governance

Professor Daly’s research programme aims to advance knowledge in the field of administrative law, developing principles to ensure that Canada’s administrative agencies work effectively and justly for the benefit of all Canadians. Canadians across the country are affected every day by administrative agencies. These bodies make thousands of decisions on everything from setting a fair price for electricity, to the amount of French-language content on cable television, to life-or-death matters such as whether and how refugees can settle in Canada. Dr. Daly’s research explores how these agencies can act reasonably and fairly as they interpret and use their vast powers.

Tracey Lindberg

Tracey Lindberg – URC in Indigenous Laws, Legal Orders and Traditions

Professor Lindberg’s research program builds upon the legal philosophies and principles of four participatory groups which retain and practice their inherent Indigenous laws, legal orders and traditions.  The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as electoral promises made by the current Canadian government, necessitate research that defines the parameters of self-determination, community, and political and legal institutions.  Researching and unpacking the inherent laws, legal orders and traditions that support and strengthen Indigenous governance will allow Professor Lindberg to study, understand and write about the notion of inherency and laws embedded in the land of Indigenous Nations, Communities and Societies.  Bolstered by her international stature as a researcher and writer, the program represents a unique opportunity for academic comparative analysis of Indigenous laws of governance and citizenship. 

Florian Martin-Bariteau

Florian Martin-Bariteau – University Research Chair on Technology and Society

Our lives have become digital and increasingly governed by algorithms. While they promise significant benefits, recent developments in automated and quantum technology have added to the significant challenges faced by modern societies. The omnipresence of algorithms demands research into the societal impacts of these technologies and how our legal systems can protect citizens consistently and effectively. Dr. Martin-Bariteau’s ambitious research program advances the law, ethics and policy of technologies related to the security, regulation and governance of artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum technologies. More generally, his research focuses on the intersection of law and technology, with an emphasis on the emergence of an algorithmic law. Dr. Martin-Bariteau examines the use of automated technologies as tools for decision-making, governance and regulation, while studying their effects on democratic freedoms, access to law and justice. The Chair develops proposals for public policies anchored in rigorous research and deploys awareness-raising and outreach activities aimed at industry, public decision-makers and civil society.

Chidi Oguamanam

Chidi Oguamanam - URC in Sustainable Bio-Innovation and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Professor Oguamanam has been awarded the University Research Chair (URC) in Sustainable Bio-Innovation, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Global Knowledge Governance. Under the auspices of this new Chair, Professor Oguamanam’s goal is to advance just societies through the equitable participation of the world’s Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in global knowledge production and in the resulting benefits. Above all, he seeks an answer to the following question: How can global knowledge governance achieve equity for IPLCs and their knowledge production? To answer this question, Professor Oguamanam will look at global knowledge governance across the multiple but interrelated sites of sustainability, agriculture, food security, environment, biodiversity conservation, climate change, health, medicines, arts, and other epistemic traditions in which the diverse forms of informal knowledge production practices of the world’s IPLCs intersect with formal science and technology-driven innovation.

Canadian Francophonie Research Chairs

François Larocque

François Larocque – Canadian Francophonie Research Chair in Language Rights

Professor François Larocque’s research program aims to advance knowledge in the field of language rights and to contribute concretely to the development of legal standards related to language in Canada. His research analyzes the legal protection of minority language communities and their institutions, particularly with respect to the development and interpretation of constitutional, legislative and jurisprudential statutes. His research primarily addresses French language rights, but also incorporates Aboriginal languages.

Endowed Research Chairs & Professorships

Natasha Bakht

Natasha Bakht – The Shirley Greenberg Professor of Women and the Legal Profession

The Greenberg Chair is designed to strengthen teaching, research and mentorship with respect to feminist perspectives on the law. It is also designed to maintain and foster links between women in the legal academy and women in the legal profession. 

Jennifer Chandler

Jennifer Chandler – Bertram Loeb Chair in Organ and Tissue Donation

The Bertram Loeb Chair at the University of Ottawa is the first academic chair in the world dedicated to research in the field of organ and tissue donation. Initiated in 2006 by its benefactor Bertram Loeb and the Bertram Loeb Organ and Tissue Donation Institute, the Chair promotes and supports an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation.  An expert in the study of the law and ethics of emerging biomedical technology, Professor Jennifer Chandler is known nationally and internationally for her ground-breaking work in the areas of organ and tissue donation law, ethics and policy, as well as the legal and ethical implications of the brain sciences.

John Packer

John Packer – Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution

The Neuberger-Jesin International Conflict Resolution Professorship was created thanks to a generous gift by spouses Edie Neuberger and Norm Jesin, who attended the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section together and graduated in 1981. The Neuberger-Jesin Professor is active as a conflict resolution expert internationally and engages students from uOttawa in such work to enhance their own training in resolution, mediation and arbitration of international conflicts. The Neuberger-Jesin Professor also operates a clinical course in international conflict resolution as part of an international mediation lab under the auspices of the professorship. Professor John Packer is the Director of the University’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC). He is an experienced practitioner bringing to the University of Ottawa some 20 years working for inter-governmental organizations, including for the United Nations and the OSCE.

Penelope Simons

Penelope Simons – Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights

Associate Professor and Vice-Dean Research at the Common Law Section, Professor Penelope Simons was appointed as the new Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights in 2021. During her three-year mandate, Professor Simons will focus on access to effective remedies for those affected by resource extraction within Canada. This research will build on her deep expertise in resource extraction and human rights, and regulatory responses to extractive-related human rights violations, including the gendered impacts of resource extraction and gendered nature of such regulatory responses. The Gordon Henderson Chair in Human Rights was created in 1991 in honour of Gordon F. Henderson, a long-term supporter and adviser of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) and former Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. The endowment that supports the Chair’s work was established to strengthen the HRREC’s ability to fulfil its mandate and further enhance its capacity to act as a leader in the field of human rights.

Wolfgang Alschner

Wolfgang Alschner – Hyman Soloway Chair in Business and Trade Law

The Hyman Soloway Chair in Business and Trade Law promotes international law at the University of Ottawa by supporting students and faculty. Working in collaboration with the Faculty of Law’s International Law Group, the Chair seeks to provide opportunities for students, professors, alumni and the international law community to engage, learn and be inspired by leading experts in the field. Professor Alschner is an empirical legal scholar specialized in international economic law and the computational analysis of law. Professor Alschner is an Associate Professor at the Common Law Section with cross-appointment to the Faculty of Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is also a faculty member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa and heads the uOttawa Legal Technology Lab.