Professor; Innovation Chair

Jackman Law Building
78 Queen's Park
Room J326
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

Tel.: 416-978-7546

Malcolm Thorburn, B.A. (Hons.) (Toronto); M.A. (Pennsylvania); J.D. (Toronto); LL.M. (Columbia); J.S.D. (Columbia) is a Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Prior to joining the Faculty of Law in 2013, he was Canada Research Chair in Crime, Security and Constitutionalism at Queen’s University. In 2000-2001, he served as Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada for Mr. Justice Louis LeBel. He has held visiting fellowships at Sciences Po, Paris, France (2019), the Australian National University (2008), Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany (2011), and the French National Centre for Criminology (CESDIP) in Paris, France (2011). In the 2011-2012 academic year, he was the Robert S. Campbell visiting fellow at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, UK.

His writing focuses on theoretical issues in criminal justice and public law including criminal law and procedure, sentencing, policing, constitutional rights and proportionality reasoning. He is the editor of two books: The Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law (with David Dyzenhaus) and The Dignity of Law (with Dwight Newman). His work has appeared in such publications as the Yale Law Journal, Ratio Juris, the Boston University Law Review, the University of Toronto Law Journal, Criminal Law and Philosophy and several books at Oxford University Press and Hart Publishing. 

He is co-convenor of the Legal Theory Workshop, and a member of the editorial boards of Law and Philosophy and Criminal Law and Philosophy.

See also the Law & Philosophy focus area.

Awards and distinctions
Canada Research Chair (tier 2) in Crime, Security and Constitutionalism, 2010-2013
Selected publications

 "Policing and Public Office" University of Toronto Law Journal 70: 248-266 (2020).

"Criminal Punishment and the Right to Rule" University of Toronto Law Journal 70:44-63 (2019)

"Soldiers as Public Officials: A Moral Justification for Combatant Immunity" 32 Ratio Juris 395 (2019).

"Human Trafficking: Supplying the Market for Human Exploitation," in Herlin-Karnell, E, Haverkamp, R, and Lernestedt, C, eds, What is Wrong with Human Trafficking? Critical Perspectives on the Law, (Bloomsbury 2018).

"Punishment and Public Authority" in Asp, P, Dubois-Pedain, A and Ulvang, M eds, Criminal Law and the Authority of the State (Bloomsbury, 2017).

"Proportionality" in Dyzenhaus, D and Thorburn, M eds, The Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2016).

"Two Conceptions of Equality Before the (Criminal) Law" in Tanguay-Renaud, F. and Stribopoulos, J. eds., Rethinking Criminal Law Theory: New Canadian Perspectives in the Philosophy of Domestic, Transnational and International Criminal Law,  (Hart Publishing 2011)

"Criminal Law as Public Law" in Duff, R.A. and Green, S. eds., Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law (Oxford University Press 2011)

"Reinventing the Night-watchman State?" 60 University of Toronto Law Journal 425 (2010) .

"Justifications, Powers and Authority" 117 Yale Law Journal 1070 (2008)

Research areas
Canadian Constitutional Law
Charter of Rights
Comparative Law
Criminal Law 
Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Legal Theory