Joanna Harrington

Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in International Business and Law, Faculty of Law
Associate Dean Research, College of Social Sciences & Humanities - Dean's Office

Pronouns: she, her, hers


Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in International Business and Law, Faculty of Law

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


Area of Study / Keywords

international law international legal cooperation foreign relations law international organizations international human rights law international procedures interim measures 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 inaugural Associate Dean Research for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. She also holds the Eldon Foote Chair in International Business and Law at the University of Alberta.

A law professor for over 20 years, her work examines issues of foreign relations law, 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.

Her teaching experience extends to visiting professorships in Australia, China, Japan, Puerto Rico and Suriname, and from 2010-2015, she served as an associate dean with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. 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 was the Fulbright Visiting 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, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of Canada's House of Commons, Canada's Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, 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 with 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 she has 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 such matters as diplomatic immunity, international human rights law, corruption and extradition, and contributed to training programs for judges, diplomats, and military lawyers. Before becoming an academic, she served as the legal officer for a member of the House of Lords specializing in constitutional reform and worked on the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the creation of the Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Born in London, England, and later emigrating to Canada, Professor Harrington obtained a BA in History and Political Science at the University of British Columbia, a JD from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in law from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Tapp scholar at Gonville and Caius College. She also holds an Academy of European Law diploma in human rights law from 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 later Ontario in 2002. She also worked as a foreign-trained lawyer in London through the Pegasus Trust scheme with the Inns of Court.

Honours and Awards

  • Martha Cook Piper Research Prize 2007
  • Killam Annual Professorship 2012
  • Fulbright Scholar 2016
  • Canadian Association of Law Teachers Prize for Academic Excellence 2018
  • Honourable Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award 2019
  • Canadian Council on International Law Scholarly Paper Award 2019
  • Canadian Bar Association-Alberta Branch & Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award in Legal Scholarship 2022

Acknowledgement of Federal Research Funding

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


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 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, House of Lords International Agreements Committee Roundtable on the Parliamentary Scrutiny of International Agreements, 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

Recent Work as an Expert Witness

  • 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
  • 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 2020


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.

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.

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