Joanna Harrington

Professor and Eldon Foote Chair, Faculty of Law
Associate Dean Research, College of Social Sciences & Humanities - Dean's Office
Special Advisor to the VPRI, Vice-President Research Innovation


Professor and Eldon Foote Chair, Faculty of Law

Associate Dean Research, College of Social Sciences & Humanities - Dean's Office

Special Advisor to the VPRI, Vice-President Research Innovation


Area of Study / Keywords

international law foreign relations law international organizations United Nations international human rights law interim measures international legal cooperation extradition transnational criminal law corporate criminality corruption foreign bribery non-trial resolutions deferred prosecution agreements asset recovery


Joanna Harrington is a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the holder of the Eldon Foote Chair in International Business and Law. She also serves as the Associate Dean Research for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and as Special Advisor to the Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

A law professor for over 20 years, her work examines issues of foreign relations law, the interaction between constitutional law and public international law, human rights, extradition, and transnational crime. Recent work has focussed on the foreign corruption of public officials, the corporate commission of transnational crimes, and the use of non-trial resolutions, such as deferred prosecution agreements and victim-centred settlements. Her publications can be found in law journals and edited collections, including the American Journal of International Law, The Canadian Yearbook of International Law, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, the McGill Law Journal, and the Supreme Court Law Review, as well as The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution and the Routledge Handbook of Transnational Criminal LawShe is also a co-author of the Canadian textbook, International Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Theory, now in its third edition, and a long-serving member of the board of directors of the Canadian Council on International Law. Prior to her service as the college associate dean research, she served a five-year term as an associate dean with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (now the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies). In 2015, she was a visiting research fellow with the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford, and in 2016, she held the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Policy Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas in Austin. From 2016-2023, she was a member of the SSHRC-funded Canadian Partnership for International Justice, which received the 2022 SSHRC Impact Award-Partnership Award and a 2023 Governor General's Innovation Award.

A supporter of translational research and cross-sector collaborations, her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitution Committee of the UK House of Lords, Canada's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the House of Commons, Canada's Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, the Parliament of Australia's Trade Committee, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, the International Law Association's Committee on International Human Rights Law and Practice, and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Media mentions include The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, CBC News, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Maclean's.

Beyond the academy, her experience includes a two-year university-to-government secondment as the scholar-in-residence with the legal bureau of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada), and a three-year term as a part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She has represented Canada as a lawyer-diplomat at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and worked on capacity building projects as a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme. She has testified as an expert witness in court and before parliamentary committees, and served as an independent investigator for complaints of employee misconduct. She has also assisted counsel in private practice on matters of immunity, the international legal protection of human rights, corruption, and extradition, and contributed to training programs for judges, diplomats, and military lawyers. Before becoming an academic, she worked for a leading member of the House of Lords on the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the creation of the Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Educated in Canada and the United Kingdom, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from the University of British Columbia, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Victoria, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in law from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Tapp scholar at Gonville and Caius College. She also holds a diploma in human rights law from the Academy of European Law at the European University Institute in Italy. After articling with one of Canada's largest law firms, she qualified as a lawyer in British Columbia in 1995, and Ontario in 2002. She also worked as a foreign-trained lawyer in London, England through the Pegasus Trust scheme with the Inns of Court.

Her career has led to several honours, including the Canadian Bar Association-Alberta Branch & Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award in Legal Scholarship 2022, the Canadian Council on International Law Scholarly Paper Award 2019, the Honourable Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award 2019, the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Prize for Academic Excellence 2018, a Fulbright Scholar award 2016, a Killam Annual Professorship 2012, and the Martha Cook Piper Research Prize 2007.


Recent Books

  • Joanna Harrington, Public International Law: Reissue 2023, a title for the Halsbury's Laws of Canada series (Markham, ON: LexisNexis, 2023).
  • John H Currie, Craig Forcese, Joanna Harrington & Valerie Oosterveld, International Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Theory, 3rd ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2022).

Recent Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Joanna Harrington, "Negotiating Transnational Corporate Criminality" in Robert J Currie, ed, Transnational and Cross-border Criminal Law: Canadian Perspectives (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2023), ch 14, 322-345.
  • Joanna Harrington, "Expanding the Role for the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a World of Conditional Extradition" (2022) 1:1 Transnational Criminal Law Review 34-51. Open access
  • 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, 276-286. DOI
  • 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 (Cham: Springer, 2021), ch 12, 251-271. DOI
  • 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), ch 6, 115-134. DOI
  • Joanna Harrington, “Providing for Victim Redress within the Legislative Scheme for Tackling Foreign Corruption” (2020) 43:1 Dalhousie Law Journal 245-280. Open access
  • 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
  • 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

Recent Commentary

  • Joanna Harrington, "Scrutinizing the emergency response," National Magazine (Canadian Bar Association), 1 March 2022, online
  • Joanna Harrington, "A plea for redress: Fines paid in corporate settlement deals must do more for the victims of foreign corruption," National Magazine (Canadian Bar Association), 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

Recent Workshops, Webinars and Consultations

  • Invited panellist, The Turn to Litigation in International Law, Canadian Council on International Law Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, November 2023
  • Invited mentor for the Law and Society Association 2023 Graduate Student and Early Career Workshop - Human Rights Group, May 2023
  • Invited panellist, Extradition After Meng: Examining Canadian and International Extradition Practice, Canadian Council on International Law Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, October 2022
  • Invited member of a multi-stakeholder team led by the Department of Justice to develop policy recommendations to address grand corruption, March-June 2022
  • Invited participant, Roundtable on the Parliamentary Scrutiny of International Agreements, International Agreements Committee, House of Lords, London, UK, June 2021
  • Invited panellist, The Growing Interdependency of the World Economy: How Customary International Law Plays a Role, an online webinar hosted by McMillan LLP, 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

Expert Witness Testimony and Submissions to Parliamentary Committees and International Organizations

  • Testified before the Parliament of Australia's Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth for an inquiry into the Australian Government's approach to negotiating trade and investment agreements, 20 October 2023, available here, with written submission and follow-up here, and cited in the Committee's Interim Report, January 2024, available here
  • Invited academic expert for the OECD Working Group on Bribery's Phase 4 Monitoring Evaluation of Canada, on-site visit to Ottawa, 2 June 2023, with written submission published by the OECD here, and cited in the Working Group on Bribery's report, released 19 October 2023, found here
  • Testified as an expert witness before Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on extradition law reform, 6 February 2023, evidence here, and cited in the Committee's report on Reforming Canada's Extradition System, Report No 13, 7 June 2023
  • Testified as an expert witness in a dangerous offender proceeding before the Provincial Court of Alberta, Edmonton, 8 February 2021
  • Invited to provide written evidence to the UK House of Lords European Union Select Committee International Agreements Sub-Committee on parliamentary treaty scrutiny best practices, 11 June 2020, No TWP0001, and cited in the committee's report on Treaty Scrutiny: Working Practices, HL Paper 97, 10 July 202

Research supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

  • SSHRC Partnership Grant 2016-2023
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant 2010-2013
  • SSHRC Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences Grant 2008-2009
  • SSHRC International Opportunities Fund 2005-2007