Faculty

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Eric M. Adams, BA (McGill), LLB (Dalhousie), SJD (University of Toronto)

Vice Dean / Professor

Law

About Me

Eric M. Adams, BA (McGill), LLB (Dalhousie), SJD (Toronto), is a Professor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law. Professor Adams has won multiple awards for his teaching and research including several article prizes for his legal historical work, a Provost’s Award for Early Career Teaching Excellence, and a Killam Annual Professorship in 2016-2017 for excellence in research, teaching, and service. Professor Adams publishes widely in the fields of constitutional law, legal history, employment law, human rights, and legal education. In particular, his multidisciplinary work engages with all aspects of Canadian constitutional law, theory, and history including studies of the classic cases, Christie v York, Roncarelli v Duplessis, and R v Drybones. He is the lead legal historian on the SSHRC-funded Partnership Grant, Landscapes of Injustice, investigating the internment, incarceration, dispossession, and exile of Japanese Canadians during the mid-twentieth century. He is currently working on several projects extending from that research, as well as a manuscript on the history of Canadian constitutional law, politics, and culture. A frequent media commentator, his many editorials have appeared in newspapers across the country.


Research

  • Constitutional Law and theory

  • Legal History

  • Labor and Employment Law

Select Publications

  • “‘Equally Applicable to Scotsmen” in Jordan Stanger-Ross ed, Landscapes of Injustice: A New Perspective on the Internment and Dispossession of Japanese Canadians (Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020)

  • “Constitutional Stories: Japanese Canadians and the Constitution of Canada” (2019) Australasian Canadian Studies [forthcoming].

  • “Judicial Agency and Anxiety: a Constitutional History of R v Drybones” (2018) 39 National Journal of Constitutional Law 63.

  • “The Law of Food Allergy and Accommodation in Canadian Schools” (2018) 14 Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 67.

  • “Canadian Constitutional Interpretation” in Cameron Hutchison, The Fundamentals of Statutory Interpretation (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2018).

  • “Canada’s Constitutional Coming of Age, 1900-1920” in Errol Mendes ed, Canada’s Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary Celebration (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2017) 65.

  • “Promises of Law: The Unlawful Dispossession of Japanese Canadians” (2017) 54:3 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 687 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross)
    https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/ohlj/vol54/iss3/2/

  • “Judging the Limits of Cooperative Federalism” (2016) 76 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 27

  • “The Dean Who Went to Law School: Searching for Purpose in North American Legal Education, 1930-1950” (2016) 54: 1 Alberta Law Review 1
    https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/1ac8b048-3631-437c-869d-8b1d6687d984

  • “Human Rights at Work: Physical Standards for Employment and Human Rights Law” (2016) 41(6) Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 63

  • “Canadian Constitutional Identities” (2015) 38(2) Dalhousie Law Journal 311

  • “Constitutional Nationalism: Law, Politics, and Culture on the Road to Patriation” in Steve Patten & Lois Harder eds., Patriation and its Consequences: Constitution Making in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015) 49

  • “Back to the Future of Law School” (2014) 51 Alberta Law Review 695
    https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/be301fd4-9dba-418f-86e8-315cd6279895

  • “Errors of Fact and Law: Race, Space, and Hockey in Christie v. York” (2012) 62 University of Toronto Law Journal 463

  • “Running from a Bear: Coordinate Constitutional Interpretation in Canada” (2012) 3(3) Journal of Transnational Law 324

  • “Constitutional Battles between Parliament and the Executive: the Canadian Prorogation Crisis” (2011) 43 Hosei Riron Journal of Law & Politics 144

  • “Crossing Borders: American Influences on Canada’s Constitutional Rights Revolution” in Norman Domeier, et. al, eds., Inter-Trans-Supra? Legal Relations and Power Structures in History (Saarbrucken: AkademikerVerlag, 2011) 285

  • “Building a Law of Human Rights: Roncarelli v. Duplessis in Canadian Constitutional Culture” (2010) 55 McGill Law Journal 437
    https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/30628edb-cd7f-4262-896d-e2f3e1a23f8e

  • “The Constitutionality of Prorogation” (2009) 18:1 Constitutional Forum constitutionel 17
    https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/468ac644-ce07-4247-876c-b1463890cd7f

  • “Guardians of Liberty: R.M.W. Chitty and the Wartime Idea of Constitutional Rights” in Constance Backhouse and Wesley Pue eds., The Promise and Perils of Law: Lawyers in Canadian History (Toronto: Irwin law, 2009) 173

  • “Canada’s ‘Newer Constitutional Law’ and the Idea of Constitutional Rights” (2006) 51 McGill Law Journal 435
    https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/56a7486b-c7d9-487c-bbb6-1617110cfde4

  • “‘Arbitrary, Anachronistic and Harsh’ Constitutional Jurisdiction in Relation to Non-Status Indians’ in Legal Aspects of Aboriginal Business Development (Toronto: Lexis/Nexis, 2005) 167 (with J. Magnet and A. Lokan)

  • “Ghosts in Court: Jonathan Belcher and the Proclamation of 1762” (2004) 27 Dalhousie Law Journal 321

  • “Balancing Probabilities: The Overlooked Complexity of the Civil Standard of Proof” in Special Lectures 2003: The Law of Evidence (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2004) 455 (with L. Rothstein and R. Centa)

Editorials and Online Media

  • “Prorogation: A View From Canada” Oxford Human Rights Hub, 3 September 2019

  • “Quebec’s religious symbols ban is striking not for its novelty, but for its unfortunate familiarity” CBC Opinion, 5 April 2019.

  • “How do we balance rights in cases of medically assisted dying?” (7 November 2018) The Globe and Mail A15.

  • “Canada’s Constitution and the contradiction that works” (5 May 2018) The Globe and Mail O11.

  • "Fred Christie Case" The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Canada, 2018.

  • “Plate-gate: listen to the ghosts of the past, present, and future” (16 December 2017) The Globe and Mail A17.

  • “Remembering promises: lessons from the 75th anniversary of the dispossession of Japanese Canadians” (27 March 2017) Vancouver Sun A13 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross) – reprinted in The Edmonton Journal and Montreal Gazette

  • “The Legacy of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin – Part I: Reflecting a Chief Justice” Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, 4 December 2017

  • “The founders always feared a Trump” (3 November 2016) Globe and Mail A11

  • “Constitutional Jurisdiction over the Metis: the question now is what to do with it” (15 April 2016) Globe and Mail

  • “Don’t let Alberta schools controversy become a battle of rights” (23 January 2016) Globe and Mail

  • “Lessons from the Japanese Canadian internments: Policies built on fear won’t make us safer” (19 January 2016) Globe and Mail A11 (with Jordan Stanger-Ross and Laura Madokoro)

  • “Calm will follow minority vote storm” (17 October 2015) Edmonton Journal A17

  • “Minority governments: the constitutional rules of the game” (18 September 2015) Globe and Mail

  • “Bus driver’s rights must be accommodated” (2 September 2015) Calgary Herald

  • “Time for unions to forgive the constitution” (10 July 2015) Ottawa Citizen

  • “Albertans: Get to know our Lieutenant-Governor” (4 May 2015) Globe and Mail

  • “SCC labour rulings not revolutionary: it’s the Charter going to work” (3 February 2015) Globe and Mail

  • “How Albertans schooled Prentice on gay rights” (5 December 2014) Globe and Mail

  • “Let’s remember our best selves” (29 October 2014) Edmonton Journal

  • “We don’t need term limits. Voters take care of that” (29 August 2014) Globe and Mail