Joanna Harrington, BA (UBC), JD (UVictoria), PhD (Cantab)

Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in Law, Faculty of Law


Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in Law, Faculty of Law


Area of Study / Keywords

international law foreign relations law international human rights law international legal cooperation transnational criminal law international criminal law international organizations constitutional law Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms parliamentary governance public policy


Joanna Harrington is a Professor of Law and the holder of the Eldon Foote Chair in International Business and Law at the University of Alberta. She is also a part-time Commissioner with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and a member of the Government of Alberta's Victims of Crime and Public Safety Programs Committee.

A law professor for 20+ years, her teaching and research activities focus on matters at the intersection of national and international law. Her work aims to improve our understanding of foreign relations law, the law and practice of international organizations, the interplay between international human rights law and national bills of rights, and inter-state efforts to address the commission of serious cross-border crime, including foreign corruption. Her publications can be found in leading law journals and highly-valued edited collections. She is also the author, co-author, or co-editor of six books, and has delivered over 90 presentations at international conferences, continuing legal education workshops, and community events.

A recipient of both teaching and research awards, her work has led to the Martha Cook Piper Research Prize (2007), a Killam Annual Professorship (2012), a Fulbright senior scholar award (2016), the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Prize for Academic Excellence (2018), the Hon. Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award (2019), and the inaugural Canadian Council on International Law Scholarly Paper Award (2019), as well as research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada since 2005. She has taught law as an invited professor in Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Puerto Rico and Suriname, and held visiting research appointments at the University of New South Wales, the University of Oxford, and the University of Texas at Austin, the latter as the Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Public Policy. Her university experience also includes a five-year term as an associate dean with university-wide responsibilities concerning graduate studies.

As for her practice experience, she has served as the academic-in-residence with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada), providing advice to government on matters of international law and representing Canada at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. She has also served as a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), testified as an expert witness in court and before parliamentary committees, and assisted counsel in private practice on matters of diplomatic law, extradition, human rights, national security, and foreign corruption.

Before becoming an academic, she worked for the late Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC of Britain's House of Lords on the passage of the Human Rights Act and the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, the creation of a Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement. She articled with one of Canada’s largest law firms and qualified as a lawyer in British Columbia in 1995 and Ontario in 2002. She earned her doctorate at the University of Cambridge as a Tapp scholar at Gonville and Caius College. She was a Pegasus scholar with the Inns of Court in London, and holds an Academy of European Law diploma in human rights law from the European University Institute in Italy.

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Recent Books

  • Joanna Harrington, Halsbury’s Laws of Canada - Public International Law: 2019 Reissue (Markham, ON: LexisNexis, 2019) (296 pages).
  • Holly Cullen, Joanna Harrington & Catherine Renshaw, eds, Experts, Networks and International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) (298 pages). DOI
  • John H. Currie, Craig Forcese, Joanna Harrington & Valerie Oosterveld, International Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Theory, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014) (1024 pages).

Recent Journal Articles

  • Joanna Harrington, “Providing for Victim Redress within the Legislative Scheme for Tackling Foreign Corruption” (2020) 43:1 Dalhousie Law Journal 245-280. Open access here.
  • Joanna Harrington, “Extradition, Assurances, and Human Rights: Guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada in India v. Badesha” (2019) 88 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 273-293. Open access here.
  • Joanna Harrington, “Addressing the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials: Developments and Challenges within the Canadian Legal Landscape” (2018) 56 The Canadian Yearbook of International Law 98-143. DOI
  • Joanna Harrington, “The Working Methods of the United Nations Security Council: Maintaining the Implementation of Change” (2017) 66:1 International & Comparative Law Quarterly 39-77. DOI

Recent Book Chapters

  • Joanna Harrington, "The Making of Modern International Extradition Law" in Neil Boister, Sabine Gless & Florian Jeßberger, eds, Histories of Transnational Criminal Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), ch 20, 277-287 (in press).
  • Joanna Harrington, "Canada and International Law: Supporting a Rules-based Approach to International Relations" in Robert W Murray & Paul Gecelovsky, eds, The Palgrave Handbook of Canada in International Affairs (Berlin: Springer, 2021), ch 12 (in press).
  • Joanna Harrington, “The Legitimacy of Interim Measures from the Perspective of a State: The Example of Canada” in Eva Rieter & Karin Zwaan, eds, Urgency and Human Rights: The Protective Potential and Legitimacy of Interim Measures (The Hague: TMC Asser Press, 2021) at 115-134. DOI
  • Joanna Harrington, “Interpreting the Charter” in Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem & Nathalie Des Rosiers, eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017) at 621-638. DOI
  • Joanna Harrington, “Use of Force, Rule-of-law Restraints, and Process: Unfinished Business for the Responsibility to Protect Concept” in Jeremy Farrall & Hilary Charlesworth, eds, Strengthening the Rule of Law through the UN Security Council (London: Routledge, 2016) at 224-238.
  • Joanna Harrington, “Monitoring and the Referral of Criminal Cases between Jurisdictions: An ICTR Contribution to Best Practice” in Charles C. Jalloh & Alhagi B.M. Marong, eds, Promoting Accountability Under International Law for Gross Human Rights Violations in Africa: Essays in Honour of Prosecutor Hassan B. Jallow (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Brill, 2015) at 478-497.

Recent Commentary and Blogposts

  • Joanna Harrington, "A plea for redress: Fines paid in corporate settlement deals must do more for the victims of foreign corruption," National magazine (7 October 2020), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, "Ending side deals would help address gender pay gap at Canadian universities," CBC News Opinion (5 October 2020), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, “Lost in the SNC-Lavalin controversy are the Libyan victims,” Policy Options Politiques (21 August 2019), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, “SNC-Lavalin: voici pourquoi nous devrions revoir les lois canadiennes sur la corruption à l'étranger,” La Conversation (Canada) (28 February 2019), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, “SNC-Lavalin case shows why we should review Canada’s foreign corruption laws,” The Conversation (Canada) (26 February 2019), republished in the National Post (27 February 2019), online:
  • Robert J. Currie & Joanna Harrington, “Prosecuting Crime at Home Secures Respect for Human Rights,” (12 September 2016), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, “Querying the Role for Human Rights Bodies in the Interplay between International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law,” Lawfare (cross-posted to EJIL Talk! and InterCross) (10 September 2015), online:
  • Joanna Harrington, “The Human Rights Committee, Treaty Interpretation, and the Last Word,” EJIL Talk! (8 August 2015), online:

Recent Testimony as an Expert Witness

  • Joanna Harrington, Testified as an expert witness in international law before the Provincial Court of Alberta, 8 February 2021
  • Joanna Harrington, Written evidence to the House of Lords European Union Select Committee International Agreements Sub-Committee providing a comparative perspective on treaty scrutiny best practices (11 June 2020), UK Parliament Reference No TWP0001, cited in the committee's report on Treaty scrutiny: working practices, HL Paper 97 (10 July 2020).
  • Joanna Harrington, Written evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution on the need for a treaty scrutiny committee (19 December 2018), UK Parliament Reference No PST0018, cited in the committee's report on Parliamentary Scrutiny of Treaties, HL Paper 345 (30 April 2019).

Recent Conference Papers, Workshops and Webinar Presentations

  • Invited panellist, Online Webinar: The Growing Interdependency of the World Economy: How Customary International Law Plays a Role, hosted by McMillan LLP, Vancouver, Canada, February 2021
  • Invited participant, Experts Consultation on the Role for the United Nations General Assembly in Preventing and Responding to Atrocity Crimes, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, November 2020
  • Invited participant, Expert Virtual Consultation on Stolen Assets and Human Rights, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, June 2020
  • Joanna Harrington, “Providing for Victim Redress within the Legislative Scheme for Tackling Foreign Corruption,” American Society of International Law Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group Works-in-Progress Workshop, Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2019
  • Joanna Harrington, “The Historical Roots of International Extradition,” Conference on Histories of Transnational Criminal Law, Schloss Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany, October 2019
  • Joanna Harrington, “What Place for Victims within an Anti-Corruption Legislative Scheme?”, Conference on Corruption, Democracy and Human Rights: Exploring New Avenues in the Fight Against Corruption, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, June 2019
  • Joanna Harrington, “Recent Developments regarding UN Security Council Working Methods and Veto Restraint Initiatives,” Chatham House Roundtable on International Law relating to Peace and Security, Columbia Law School, New York, USA, November 2018
  • Panellist, “Extradition After Diab,” 47th Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law, Ottawa, Canada, November 2018
  • Invited participant, Halifax Colloquium on Extradition Law Reform, MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, September 2018
  • Joanna Harrington, “Mutually Beneficial Cooperation and the Protection of Human Rights,” Chatham House Roundtable on International Law, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, June 2018
  • Joanna Harrington, “Extradition, Assurances, and Human Rights,” The Annual Osgoode Constitutional Cases Conference, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, Canada, April 2018
  • Joanna Harrington, “The Practicalities of Parliamentary Engagement in Treaty-making,” Conference on Treaties, Brexit and the Constitution, Jesus College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, March 2018
  • Invited participant, Transpacific Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict, United States Pacific Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, USA, February 2018


LAW 506 - Public International Law

A survey of the foundational principles, structure and institutions of public international law, including the nature of the international legal system, the sources of international law, and the relevance of international law to the Canadian legal system. The role of international organizations, such as the United Nations, will also be discussed.

Fall Term 2021
LAW 557 - International Human Rights Law

This seminar course focuses on the international legal protection of human rights (political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights). It may also consider the rights of women, children's rights, regional human rights systems, Canadian implementation of international human rights obligations, national human rights institutions, transitional justice issues, and the interface with international humanitarian law.

Fall Term 2021
LAW 561 - International Criminal Law

An introduction to the international legal framework for the prosecution of international crimes and crimes of international concern, and the examination of the international community's response to these crimes through the creation of international and internationalized criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court. Topics for further examination include immunities, amnesties, and sentencing, as well as the domestic prosecution of international crimes in Canada and other forms of Canadian cooperation.

Winter Term 2021 Winter Term 2022
LAW 599 - Seminars on Specialized Legal Topics

These seminars will cover specialized topics of emerging importance in the law at a senior level. The particular topic covered would vary dependent on the availability of Faculty with necessary teaching competence, student interest, and the needs of the legal profession. Sections may be offered in a Cost Recovery format at an increased rate of fee assessment; refer to the Fees Payment Guide in the University Regulations and Information for Students.

Winter Term 2021 Winter Term 2022

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