Tort Law & Social Equality Project gears up for its first discussion forum

April 27, 2022

Zoe Sinel, Sophia Moreau and Jean Thomas

The Tort Law & Social Equality Project, coordinated by Western Law’s Zoë Sinel, the University of Toronto’s Sophia Moreau, and Queen’s University’s Jean Thomas, is hosting its first official discussion forum on April 29.

Legal experts Haim Abraham (UCL), Doron Dorfman (Syracuse University), and Kyle Velte (University of Kansas) have been announced as panelists. Their discussion will focus on the hurdles that LGBTQ+ individuals and people with disabilities face in tort litigation. More specifically, they will examine how tort law concepts, such as the reasonable person, right-thinking members of society, and ordinary fortitude, operate to exclude these groups.

The discussion will go live at on Friday, April 29 and will close one week later.

Anyone interested in participating must register in advance by emailing

Later this spring, Western Law Professors Erika Chamberlain and Claire Houston will lead a discussion forum on the new tort of family violence, recognized in the recent Ontario case of Ahluwalia v Ahluwalia, which addresses longstanding patterns of violence and oppression in marital relationships. More broadly, they will discuss whether and when common law courts should recognize new torts in response to changing social mores.

Tort Law & Social Equality logoThe Tort Law & Social Equality Project, launched in February of this year, brings together legal researchers and practitioners from across Canada to discuss the ways in which legal rules within tort law reinforce and perpetuate systemic social inequalities.

In addition to discussion forums, the project offers a searchable database of primary and secondary sources relevant to tort law’s effects on marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, women, and persons with disabilities. The project’s overarching aim is to create and foster a community in which an open dialogue about tort law’s promise and its limits in addressing social inequalities can take place.

The project is funded through an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council awarded to Moreau (principal investigator) and Sinel and Thomas (co-investigators) in 2019. It is valued at $130,227 and will extend through the spring of 2024.