Thomas Telfer

Thomas Telfer

Academic Degrees:

BA (Hons) (Western) 1985; JD (With Distinction) (Western) 1988; LLM (Duke) 1992; SJD (Toronto) 1999; Member of Law Society of Ontario (1990)

Phone: 519 661-2111 ext. 88379
Office: LB 16

Thomas Telfer is a Professor of Law at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.  He joined Western in 2002 from the University of Auckland where he taught for eight years. Professor Telfer’s research and teaching interests include bankruptcy law, mindfulness, commercial law, contracts and legal history.

He has been a Visitor at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School, University of Melbourne, Case Western Reserve University, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Adelaide and the University of Auckland.

Professor Telfer has published a number of articles on insolvency law, secured transactions and consumer law. He has a major interest in the intersection of history and bankruptcy law and is the author of Ruin and Redemption: A Struggle for Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2014).  

He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Canadian Business Law Journal, and the New Zealand Law Review. In 2013, Professor Telfer was the recipient of the Lloyd Houlden Memorial Research Fellowship. 

He currently holds a Teaching Fellowship from the Centre for Teaching and Learning to develop mindfulness and mental health initiatives. In 2017, he introduced mindfulness as an optional first year course and in 2018 received a Leadership in Wellness Award of Recognition from Western for mindfulness education.  In 2019, he will be offering an upper year credit course: Mindfulness and the Legal Profession.  

Professor Telfer is currently working on a project that examines bankruptcy and insolvency law during the Great Depression.

Seeking graduate students in the following areas: Bankruptcy and insolvency, legal history, mindfulness and the legal profession

Research Highlights


Ruin and Redemption: A Struggle for Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2014).  

Stephanie Ben-Ishai & Thomas GW Telfer eds, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law in Canada: Cases, Materials, and Problems (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2019).

David Brown and Thomas Telfer, Personal and Corporate Insolvency Legislation:  Guide and Commentary to the 2006 Amendments, 2nd ed. (Wellington:  LexisNexis Butterworths New Zealand, 2013)  (commentary 150 pp).

Charles E.F. Rickett & Thomas G.W. Telfer eds., International Perspectives on Consumers’ Access to Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2003) (440 pp).


“Rediscovering the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Power: Political and Constitutional Challenges to the Bankruptcy Act, 1919-1929” (2017) 80:1 Saskatchewan Law Review 37-70.

“Repeat Bankruptcies and the Integrity of the Canadian Bankruptcy Process” (2014) 55 Canadian Business Law Journal 231-262.

“Ideas, Interests and Institutions and the History of Canadian Bankruptcy Law 1867-1880” (2010) 60 University of Toronto Law Journal 603-621.

Thomas Telfer & Bruce Welling, “The Winding-Up and Restructuring Act: Realigning Insolvency Law’s Orphan to the Modern Insolvency Law Process” (2008) 24 Banking & Finance Law Review 235-270.

“Transplanting Equitable Subordination:  The New ‘Free-Wheeling’ Equitable Discretion in Canadian Insolvency Law?” (2001) 36 Canadian Business Law Journal 36-88.

“Risk and Insolvent Trading” in C. Rickett and R. Grantham (eds.) Corporate Personality in the 20th Century (Oxford:  Hart Publishing, 1998) pp 127-148.