Joanna Harrington

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


Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in International Business Law, Faculty of Law
471 Law Centre
8820 - 111 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5

Associate Dean Research, College of Social Sciences & Humanities - Dean's Office
2-10H University Terrace
8303 - 112 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2T4



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 Law at the University of Alberta.

A law professor for over 20 years, she works on issues of foreign relations law, public international law, human rights, 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, as well as extradition. 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. She is also a co-author of the Canadian textbook, International Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Theory, and a board member of the Canadian Council on International Law.

Before coming to the University of Alberta in 2004, she was an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario and a lecturer in law at the University of Nottingham. She has also taught law as an invited professor in Australia, China, Japan, Puerto Rico and Suriname, and held visiting appointments at the University of New South Wales, the University of Oxford, and the University of Texas at Austin; the latter as the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Policy Studies in the Department of Government. From 2010-2015, she served as an associate dean with campus-wide responsibilities for graduate education, and from 2016-2023, she was a member of the SSHRC-funded Canadian Partnership for International Justice, which received the 2022 SSHRC Impact Awards-Partnership Award. Supportive of translational research, her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitution Committee of the UK House of Lords, 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 to serve as a legal adviser 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 in multilateral negotiations 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 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, foreign bribery, and extradition, and contributed to training programs for judges, diplomats, and lawyers.

She earned her BA from the University of British Columbia, her JD from the University of Victoria, and her PhD in law from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Tapp scholar at Gonville and Caius College. She was also awarded an Academy of European Law diploma in human rights law from the European University Institute in Italy. Called to the bar 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. Before becoming an academic, she worked as a legal officer for a member of the House of Lords with a focus on constitutional reform, including the passage of the Human Rights Act, the creation of a Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

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

Research funding received from the SSHRC International Opportunities Fund (2005-2007), the SSHRC Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada Fund (2008-2009), a SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2010-2014), the Fulbright Commission (2016), and a 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 (in press).
  • 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, 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

  • Testified as an expert witness before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on extradition law reform, Ottawa, 6 February 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), UK Parliament Reference 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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