Prof. Catherine Valcke

Jackman Law Building
Room J422
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

Tel.: 416-946-8240

Catherine Valcke (LL.B. Civil Law, University of Sherbrooke; LL.B. Common Law, University of Toronto; LL.M. University of Chicago; S.J.D. Columbia) is Professor at University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where she served as Associate Dean from 1997 to 2000.  Professor Valcke has lectured on contract law, the civil law of obligations, comparative law, and comparative legal theory in North America, Europe, and North Africa, and published in those fields nationally and internationally, in such journals as Nomos, the American Journal of Comparative Law, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Yale Journal of International Law, European Review of Private Law, and Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.  An elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, Professor Valcke as acted on several occasions as National Reporter for Canada to the Congress of the Academy.  Her recent book Comparing Law: Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments (Cambridge University Press, 2018) draws on legal theory to develop an interpretive conception of, and analytic framework for, comparative legal studies.  That analytic framework finds application in her current SSHRC-funded project -- French and English Private Law Paradigms -- which seeks to provide a deep comparative understanding of the French and English legal rules governing contract, tort, and property. A new author of the forthcoming 2021 edition of Pineau et al, Théorie des Obligations (Thémis, Montréal), a prominent treatise on the law of obligations of Quebec, Professor Valcke also is a co-editor of the forthcoming 2023 edition of the prestigious Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law. 

J.S.D. - Columbia University, New York, NY, USA (1997)
LL.M. - University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA (1989)
LL.B. (Common Law) - University of Toronto (1988)
LL.B. (Civil Law) - University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (1985)
Academic appointments
Acting Associate Dean of Law (First-Year Programme), University of Toronto (2007, 2008)
Visiting Professor of Law, University of Montreal (2004-2005)
Guest Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Tunis II, Tunis, Tunisia (2005)
Associate Dean of Law, University of Toronto (1997-2000)
Visiting Professor of Law, Center for Transnational Legal Studies, King's College, London, England, Spring 2019
Awards and distinctions
Article cited as “illuminating” by the English House of Lords (Lord Hoffmann) in Chartbrook Ltd. v. Persimmon Homes Ltd. et al., [2009] UKHL 38, [39].
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant for project “Reconstructing Comparative Law” (2011-2014)
Rapporteur for Canada, International Survey on Legal Convergence, International Academy of Comparative Law (2009)
Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (by nomination and election only) (2007)
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant for project “Towards a Theory of Comparative Law” (2004-2007)
Rapporteur for Canada (Common Law Section), XVIIth Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (“Precedent and Comparative law”), University of Utrecht, Netherlands (2006)
Selected publications

Comparing Law: Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) 232 pp., reviewed: S. Seppänen, 14 Asian J. Comp. Law 382-84 (2019); E. Robson Taylor & P. Taylor, “The Barrister”, Spring 2019; 

Comparing Legal Styles in P. Cserne, ed., The Many Faces of Style in Law and Legal                                                                      Scholarship (2019) 15 International Journal of Law in Context pp. 274-96 (

Les différentes configurations de l’espace juridique contractuel en droit français et en droit anglais (2015) 7 Droit et philosophie--Annuaire de l’Institut Michel Villey, pp. 47-81.

“Reflections on Comparative Law Methodology—Getting Inside Contract Law” in Maurice Adams & Jacco Bomhoff, eds, Practice and Theory in Comparative Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) 53-105.

“On Comparing French and English Contract Law:  Insights from Social Contract Theory” (2009) 4 Journal of Comparative Law 69-95 (cited and described as “illuminating article” by the English House of Lords (Lord Hoffmann) in Chartbrook Ltd. v. Persimmon Homes Ltd. et al., [2009] UKHL 38, [39]; also cited by the Scottish Law Commission (Review of Contract Law, Discussion Paper 147, [4.13]).

“Le système de droit en droit comparé—Réflexions sur l’épistémologie d’une définition” in Pierre Legrand, ed, Comparer les droits, résolument (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2009) 99-121.

“Convergence and Divergence among English, French, and German Conceptions of Contract” (2008) 16 European Review of Private Law 29-62.

“Comparative Law as Comparative Jurisprudence—The Comparability of Legal Systems” (2004) 52 American Journal of Comparative Law 713-740 (reprinted in Maksymilian Del Mar, William Twining & Michael Giudice, eds, The Library of Essays in Contemporary Legal Theory—Legal Theory and the Legal Academy (Ashgate Publishing, 2010).

Research areas
Civil Law
Comparative Law
Legal Theory