Legal Philosophy Research Group

Legal philosophy asks basic questions about the nature of law. Among other things, it examines the relationship between law and morality; the grounds of legal authority; the source and content of legal obligations; and the normative structure of legal doctrine in different domains of law.

Western Law’s faculty has substantial expertise in numerous areas of legal philosophy, covering many aspects of analytic jurisprudence, private law theory, public law theory, and the theory of international law. Established in 2021 the Legal Philosophy Research Group is dedicated to encouraging collaboration among our colleagues through reading groups and workshops, connecting our faculty and our colleagues to leading legal philosophers from around the world through talks, workshops, and conferences, and supporting JD and graduate students who have interests in this area through public events, specialized courses, curricular development, and mentoring.


  • Prof. Andrew Botterell — private law theory, criminal law theory
  • Prof. Dennis Klimchuk — private law theory, equity, history of political philosophy
  • Prof. Joanna Langille — private international law, international trade law, private law, legal theory
  • Prof. Ryan Liss — criminal law theory, International criminal law theory
  • Prof. Margaret Martin — jurisprudence, constitutional law, constitutional law theory, legal positivism
  • Prof. Jason Neyers — private law theory, contract law, tort law
  • Prof. Manish Oza — legal theory, contract law, property law
  • Prof. Zoe Sinel — private law theory, restitution, remedies
  • Prof. Andy Yu — jurisprudence, constitutional law, Administrative law, property law

News and Events

Mark Walters

Prof. Mark Walters

On November 14, 2023, Professor Kimberley Brownlee, Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Political & Social Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, UBC, gave the Legal Philosophy Research Group’s Annual Public Lecture. Professor Brownlee spoke on the topic ‘Civil Disobedience and the Climate Necessity Defence (in Canada).'

On Monday, November 7, 2022, Western Law’s Legal Philosophy Research Group held its Inaugural Annual Public Lecture. The Lecture was given by the Dean of Queen’s Law, Professor Mark Walters, who is a leading expert in public law. The Lecture was on the topic, “Reconciling Sovereignty and Legality in Canada: Is A.V. Dicey Relevant Anymore?”

Relevant Publications

Professor Joanna Langille 

“Public Policy and Illegality,” in Jason Neyers, ed, The Law of Contract in Canada (Carswell, forthcoming 2024).

“The Subjects of Tort Law” (to be submitted to the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies).

Professor Ryan Liss 

International Criminal Law as Cosmopolitan Right in Reverse, Jurisprudence (forthcoming, 2024)

Professor Margaret Martin 

De, Bustamante Thomas da Rosa, and Margaret Martin. New Essays on the Fish-Dworkin Debate. Hart Publishing, 2023.

Professor Jason Neyers

JW Neyers, “In Defence Of ‘In Defence Of The Third-Party Rule’” in L Smith, E Fox-Decent, and J Goldberg, Understanding Private Law: Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Smith (Hart: 2024) (Forthcoming). 

Professor Manish Oza

The Personality of Public Authorities (forthcoming) Law and Philosophy.

Professor Zoë Sinel

Whiten v Pilot Insurance, [2022] 1 SCR 595: How Can Something So Wrong Feel So Right?,” in James Goudkamp and Eleni Katsampouka, eds, Landmark Cases in Punitive Damages (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2023).

“The Place of Regret in the Law of Torts,” in Sandy Steel and Haris Psarras, eds, Private Law and Practical Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023).