Eric Adams, BA (McGill), LLB (Dalhousie), SJD (University of Toronto)

Professor, Faculty of Law


Professor, Faculty of Law
(780) 248-1516
457 Law Centre
8820 - 111 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5



Eric M. Adams, BA (McGill), LLB (Dalhousie), SJD (Toronto), is a Professor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law. He served as Vice Dean at the Faculty from 2019-2022. Professor Adams publishes widely in the fields of constitutional law, legal history, employment law, human rights, and legal education. His multidisciplinary research engages all aspects of Canadian constitutional law, theory, and history, and includes studies of the classic cases, Christie v YorkRoncarelli v Duplessis, and R v Drybones. He has won multiple awards for his teaching and research including the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History, a Provost’s Award for Early Career Teaching Excellence, best article prizes from the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and the Canadian Historical Association, and a Killam Annual Professorship for excellence in research, teaching, and service. He has delivered talks and keynote addresses across Canada and around the world including the Youard Lecture in Legal History at the University of Oxford. He is currently working on several projects extending from his research on the legal history of Japanese Canadians. A frequent media commentator, his many editorials have appeared in newspapers across the country.


  • Constitutional Law and theory
  • Legal History
  • Labor and Employment Law

Select Publications

  • “Nothwithstanding History: the Rights-Protecting Purposes of Section 33 of the Charter” (2022) Review of Constitutional Studies (with Erin Bower)
  • “Constitutional Wrongs: the Wartime Constitution and Japanese Canadians” in Barry Wright, Susan Binnie & Eric Tucker eds, Canadian State Trials, Volume V: World War, Cold War, and Challenges to Sovereignty, 1939-1990 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022) 44 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross)
  • “Touch of Evil: Disagreements at the Heart of the Criminal Law Power” (2022) 104 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 67
  • “The Validity and Reliability of a Treadmill Test for Structural Firefighter Applicants” (2022) 64(4) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 340 (with Michael Scarlett, Cameron Ehnes, Randy Dreger, & Stewart Petersen)
  • “Evidence for validity and reliability, and development of performance standards and cut-scores for job-related tests of physical aptitude for structural firefighers” (2021) 63(11) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 992 (with Michael Scarlett, Todd Rogers, Randy Dreger, & Stewart Petersen)
  • “Seeing Double: Peace, Order, and Good Government and the Impact of Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislation on Provincial Jurisdiction” (2020) 29(1) Constitutional Forum 1 (with Andrew Leach).
  • “‘Equally Applicable to Scotsmen” in Jordan Stanger-Ross ed, Landscapes of Injustice: A New Perspective on the Internment and Dispossession of Japanese Canadians (Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020)
  • “Constitutional Stories: Japanese Canadians and the Constitution of Canada” (2019) Australasian Canadian Studies [forthcoming].
  • “Judicial Agency and Anxiety: a Constitutional History of R v Drybones” (2018) 39 National Journal of Constitutional Law 63.
  • “The Law of Food Allergy and Accommodation in Canadian Schools” (2018) 14 Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 67.
  • “Canadian Constitutional Interpretation” in Cameron Hutchison, The Fundamentals of Statutory Interpretation (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2018).
  • “Canada’s Constitutional Coming of Age, 1900-1920” in Errol Mendes ed, Canada’s Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary Celebration (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2017) 65.
  • “Promises of Law: The Unlawful Dispossession of Japanese Canadians” (2017) 54:3 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 687 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross)
  • “Judging the Limits of Cooperative Federalism” (2016) 76 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 27
  • “The Dean Who Went to Law School: Searching for Purpose in North American Legal Education, 1930-1950” (2016) 54: 1 Alberta Law Review 1
  • “Human Rights at Work: Physical Standards for Employment and Human Rights Law” (2016) 41(6) Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 63
  • “Canadian Constitutional Identities” (2015) 38(2) Dalhousie Law Journal 311
  • “Constitutional Nationalism: Law, Politics, and Culture on the Road to Patriation” in Steve Patten & Lois Harder eds., Patriation and its Consequences: Constitution Making in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015) 49
  • “Back to the Future of Law School” (2014) 51 Alberta Law Review 695
  • “Errors of Fact and Law: Race, Space, and Hockey in Christie v. York” (2012) 62 University of Toronto Law Journal 463
  • “Running from a Bear: Coordinate Constitutional Interpretation in Canada” (2012) 3(3) Journal of Transnational Law 324
  • “Constitutional Battles between Parliament and the Executive: the Canadian Prorogation Crisis” (2011) 43 Hosei Riron Journal of Law & Politics 144
  • “Crossing Borders: American Influences on Canada’s Constitutional Rights Revolution” in Norman Domeier, et. al, eds., Inter-Trans-Supra? Legal Relations and Power Structures in History (Saarbrucken: AkademikerVerlag, 2011) 285
  • “Building a Law of Human Rights: Roncarelli v. Duplessis in Canadian Constitutional Culture” (2010) 55 McGill Law Journal 437
  • “The Constitutionality of Prorogation” (2009) 18:1 Constitutional Forum constitutionel 17
  • “Guardians of Liberty: R.M.W. Chitty and the Wartime Idea of Constitutional Rights” in Constance Backhouse and Wesley Pue eds., The Promise and Perils of Law: Lawyers in Canadian History (Toronto: Irwin law, 2009) 173
  • “Canada’s ‘Newer Constitutional Law’ and the Idea of Constitutional Rights” (2006) 51 McGill Law Journal 435
  • “‘Arbitrary, Anachronistic and Harsh’ Constitutional Jurisdiction in Relation to Non-Status Indians’ in Legal Aspects of Aboriginal Business Development (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2005) 167 (with J. Magnet and A. Lokan)
  • “Ghosts in Court: Jonathan Belcher and the Proclamation of 1762” (2004) 27 Dalhousie Law Journal 321
  • “Balancing Probabilities: The Overlooked Complexity of the Civil Standard of Proof” in Special Lectures 2003: The Law of Evidence (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2004) 455 (with L. Rothstein and R. Centa)

Editorials and Online Media

  • “Madu crossed a line that must not be crossed” (28 January 2022) Edmonton Journal.
  • “Why referendums don’t always produce constitutional change” (5 January 2022) Canadian Bar Association National Magazine.
  • “Jason Kenney’s equalization referendum is built on a crucial misinterpretation” (28 June 2021) The Globe and Mail A11.
  • “COVID restrictions aren’t suspending Charter rights in Alberta” (12 December 2020) Edmonton Journal.
  • “The least democratic aspects of Canada’s Constitution may provide the best defence of our election process” (13 November 2020) CBC Opinion.
  • “The poetry of peace, order and good government must be made practical, too” (22 September 2020) The Globe and Mail.
  •  “What a minority government would mean” (17 October 2019) The Globe and Mail A13.
  • “Prorogation: A View From Canada” Oxford Human Rights Hub, 3 September 2019
  • “Quebec’s religious symbols ban is striking not for its novelty, but for its unfortunate familiarity” CBC Opinion, 5 April 2019.
  • “How do we balance rights in cases of medically assisted dying?” (7 November 2018) The Globe and Mail A15.
  • “Canada’s Constitution and the contradiction that works” (5 May 2018) The Globe and Mail O11.
  • "Fred Christie Case" The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Canada, 2018.
  • “Plate-gate: listen to the ghosts of the past, present, and future” (16 December 2017) The Globe and Mail A17.
  • “Remembering promises: lessons from the 75th anniversary of the dispossession of Japanese Canadians” (27 March 2017) Vancouver Sun A13 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross) – reprinted in The Edmonton Journal and Montreal Gazette
  • “The Legacy of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin – Part I: Reflecting a Chief Justice” Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, 4 December 2017
  • “The founders always feared a Trump” (3 November 2016) Globe and Mail A11
  • “Constitutional Jurisdiction over the Metis: the question now is what to do with it” (15 April 2016) Globe and Mail
  • “Don’t let Alberta schools controversy become a battle of rights” (23 January 2016) Globe and Mail
  • “Lessons from the Japanese Canadian internments: Policies built on fear won’t make us safer” (19 January 2016) Globe and Mail A11 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross and Laura Madokoro)
  • “Calm will follow minority vote storm” (17 October 2015) Edmonton Journal A17
  • “Minority governments: the constitutional rules of the game” (18 September 2015) Globe and Mail
  • “Bus driver’s rights must be accommodated” (2 September 2015) Calgary Herald
  • “Time for unions to forgive the constitution” (10 July 2015) Ottawa Citizen
  • “Albertans: Get to know our Lieutenant-Governor” (4 May 2015) Globe and Mail
  • “SCC labour rulings not revolutionary: it’s the Charter going to work” (3 February 2015) Globe and Mail
  • “How Albertans schooled Prentice on gay rights” (5 December 2014) Globe and Mail
  • “Let’s remember our best selves” (29 October 2014) Edmonton Journal
  • “We don’t need term limits. Voters take care of that” (29 August 2014) Globe and Mail


LAW 533 - Advanced Problems in Constitutional Law

Entails an examination of various current problems in constitutional law. Topics covered in past years include Criminal Justice and the Charter, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Federal/Provincial Law.

LAW 709 - Topics in Constitutional Law 1

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