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Joanna Harrington, BA (UBC), JD (Victoria), PhD (Cambridge)



Joanna Harrington is a Professor of Law at the University of Alberta. She teaches, researches and writes on matters of constitutional law, international law, and public policy, including the law and practice of international organizations, international human rights law, and international and transnational criminal law. An award-winning professor, her work has earned the Martha Cook Piper Research Prize, a Killam Annual Professorship, and a Fulbright Scholar award, as well as visiting appointments at the University of New South Wales, the University of Oxford, and the University of Texas at Austin, among others.

A lawyer since 1995, Professor Harrington articled with one of Vancouver’s oldest law firms, before pursuing graduate studies at the University of Cambridge with a WM Tapp studentship at Gonville and Caius College and a Pegasus scholarship with the Inns of Court in London. She was also awarded an Academy of European Law Diploma in Human Rights Law from the European University Institute in Italy.

Following an historic election in the United Kingdom, she took leave from her studies to serve as a legal adviser to a member of Britain’s House of Lords. In this capacity, she worked on several matters of significant constitutional reform, including the passage of the Human Rights Act incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, and the implementation of the Northern Ireland peace agreement. She later joined the academy as first a lecturer in law at the University of Nottingham, and then an Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario, before joining the University of Alberta in 2004. She was promoted to full Professor in 2009.

A strong believer in the value of interchange between the academy and practice, she took leave from 2006 to 2008 to serve as the Scholar-in-Residence with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada). She gained file responsibilities for matters of international indigenous rights, international human rights law, and international criminal law and practice. She also served as a member of Canada’s official delegation to the UN General Assembly and participated in the negotiation of new international instruments 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 later attended the first Review Conference for the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda, writing a series of scholarly blogposts covering this diplomatic event for EJIL Talk.

Returning to the academy, Professor Harrington served a five-year term from 2010 to 2015 as an associate dean with across-campus responsibilities for the quality and standards of graduate education. With 7000 graduate students at the University of Alberta, she gained extensive experience in the mediation and informal resolution of disputes, and the cross-disciplinary development of academic policy. She now sits as a member of the University Appeal Board and the General Appeals Committee.

Professor Harrington often writes about the interaction between national and international law, and the national relevance of Canada’s international obligations. Her publications have appeared in various journals, including the American Journal of International Law, The Canadian Yearbook of International Law, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, the McGill Law Journal, Modern Law Review, Queen’s Law Journal and the Supreme Court Law Review. She is also a co-author of the second edition of International Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Theory (Irwin Law, 2014) and a co-editor of Experts, Networks and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2017). A past recipient of several research grants, she is currently a member of a $2.5 million SSHRC Partnership Grant project bringing together law professors and NGO lawyers to promote access to justice for victims of serious international crimes.

Her interest in capacity building and international development has also led to work as a consultant with both national and international organizations, including work with the United Nations Development Programme in Suriname and Viet Nam, and with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She has also testified as an expert witness before parliamentary committees, and assisted counsel in private practice in matters of extradition, human rights, national security, and foreign corruption.

See also: www.joannaharrington.com