Nelson Arturo Ovalle Diaz
Nelson Arturo Ovalle Diaz
Fellow (HRREC)
Part-time Professor, University of Ottawa


Research interests

  • International contemporary law
  • Alternative conflict resolution

Nelson Arturo Ovalle Diaz has been a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa since 2010 and is also an expert advisor to many social enterprises and community organizations.

In 2015, Nelson earned his Ph.D. in Transnational Law from the University of Ottawa with the thesis entitled: “La production pluraliste du droit transnational contemporain”. His dissertation asserts that the theory of legal positivism, which was relatively valid until the end of the Cold War, seems to have been surpassed by the world of the twenty-first century. The competences based on the Westphalian model of territorial sovereignty are now shared and exercised by a range of non-state actors. The auto-regulatory power of the latter is rooted in techno-scientific knowledge specialized in a particular industry that extends above and beyond state borders. This new manifestation of sovereignty can be incorporated into transnational law. Implementation of the complex transnational legal model is based on consensus that links states, sub-state units, international organizations and other non-state actors. This new theory must develop a legal discourse based on argumentative strength and not on coercive force. Legal pluralism seems to offer this possibility.

Nelson teaches a number of courses on the connections between the law and social sciences. His research interests include legal theory, human rights, international law, constitutional law, transitional justice, social justice, public policy with an emphasis on criminal policies, and alternative mechanisms for conflict resolution which incorporate indigenous perspectives. He has presented his academic work at conferences internationally.

He has published articles, in Spanish and French, in academic journals. Selected articles include the following:

  1. Le pluralisme juridique, la justice transitionnelle et alternative : le cas du conflit armé interne colombien, 2015.
  2. Los fundamentos políticos-jurídicos del derecho fundamental a la reparación integral de las víctimas y los recursos internacionales disponibles, 2009.

He has also co-edited two article collections:

  1. L’État de droit en Amérique latine et au Canada, 2015.
  2. Actualización en derecho comercial colombiano, 1998.