Joanna Harrington

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


Professor and Eldon Foote Chair in 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 and 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. Her work has been published 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, 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 long-serving member of the board of directors of the Canadian Council on International Law. Her work has led to visiting appointments in Australia (University of New South Wales), the United Kingdom (University of Oxford) and the United States (University of Texas at Austin), the latter as the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Policy Studies. From 2010-2015, she served as an associate dean with campus-wide responsibilities for graduate education.

Supportive of translational and cross-sector 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. She is also a member of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice, a research collaboration between legal academics and NGOs funded by a $2.5 million SSHRC Partnership Grant that was recognized by the 2022 SSHRC Impact Awards - Partnership Award.

Beyond the academy, Professor Harrington has been a member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (2018-2021), and internationally, she has contributed to UN human rights capacity-building projects in Vietnam (2008-2009) and Suriname (2008 & 2012). From 2006-2008, she was on secondment to the Government of Canada to serve as the scholar-in-residence in the legal bureau of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada). She has represented 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 testified as an expert witness in court and before parliamentary committees, and served as an independent investigator of complaints of discrimination and misconduct. She has 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 military lawyers. Before becoming an academic, she worked for a member of the House of Lords on matters of constitutional reform, including the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the creation of a Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement.

Professor Harrington holds a BA from the University of British Columbia, a JD from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in law from the University of Cambridge, where she held a WM Tapp Studentship in Law 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 was 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.

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) (forthcoming)
  • 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) (forthcoming)
  • 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 in a dangerous offender proceeding before the Provincial Court of Alberta, 8 February 2021
  • Invited to provide written evidence to the 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, 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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