Professor of Law and English; Director, Centre for Innovation Law & Policy; Chair in Innovation Law

Jackman Law Building              
Room 472
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5 

Tel.: 416-978-0293

See Prof. Stern's pages on SSRN,, google scholar, or ORCID, or this list of all publications.

B.A. (Yale), Ph.D., English (UC Berkeley), J.D. (Yale), member of the Washington, D.C. Bar. While in law school he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities. After law school he clerked for Ronald M. Gould on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, practiced litigation at Shea & Gardner (now Goodwin Procter) in Washington, D.C., and then served as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.

Prof. Stern teaches and researches in the areas of law and literature, legal history, law and sexuality, and criminal law.  He is President of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and Humanities; a member of the Executive Board of the Law and Humanities Forum of the Modern Language Association; and a member of the editorial board of Law & Literature.  His research focuses on the evolution of legal doctrines and methods in relation to literary and intellectual history. Current research topics include the development of the "reasonable man" standard (and its precursors and analogues) since the eighteenth century, and the changing conception of legal fictions between the early modern period and the present. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Foundation for Legal Research, and the American Society for Legal History.

He is co-editor (with Robert Spoo) of the series Law and Literature, published by Oxford University Press. With colleagues at other universities in North America, Europe, and the UK, he convenes the Works in Progress series in Law and Literature, which provides a venue for new work in the field. He is also co-editor of Critical Analysis of Law, and a co-editor of the New Rambler Review.

In 2012 Prof. Stern was the recipient of the SLS Partnership Award, bestowed by the U of T Students' Law Society in recognition of faculty members who have shown a commitment to student-friendly initiatives and student advocacy.

Ph.D. & S.J.D. advising      Prof. Stern supervises dissertation projects related to legal history, law and literature, eighteenth-century literature, criminal law, and law & sexuality. Recent and current projects include:  Michael Donnelly, For All Peoples and All Nations: Anglophone Literature and the Imaginative Work of International Law (1884-2017); Daniel Kennedy, Legal and Literary Fictions at the Early Modern Inns of Court; Michael Reid, Gay Lives: Literature, Secrecy, and the Problem of Evidence in Eighteenth-Century England; Daniel Del Gobbo, Feminism Goes to College: The Law and Politics of Campus Sexual Violence.

J.D., Yale, 2002
Ph.D. (English) U.C. Berkeley, 1999
Selected publications

The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (2020) (ed. Simon Stern, Bernadette Meyler, and Maksymilian Del Mar)

"Fanny Hill and the "Laws of Decency": Investigating Obscenity in Eighteenth-Century England," Eighteenth-Century Life 43 (2019), 162-87

"Narrative in the Legal Text: Judicial Opinions and Their Narratives," in Narrative and Metaphor in the Law, ed. Michael Hanne & Robert Weisberg (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 121-39

Co-Editor (with Nan Goodman), The Routledge Research Companion to Law and Humanities in Nineteenth-Century America (Routledge, 2017)

"Wilde's Obscenity Effect: Influence and Immorality in The Picture of Dorian Gray," Review of English Studies 68 (2017), 756-72

"Legal and Literary Fictions," in New Directions in Law and Literature, ed. Bernadette Meyler & Elizabeth Anker (Oxford University Press, 2017), 313-26

"R. v. Jones (1703): The Origins of the Reasonable Person," in Philip Handler, Henry Mares, & Ian Williams, eds., Landmark Cases in Criminal Law (Hart, 2017), 59-79

Ed. & Intro., William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book II: Of the Rights of Things (The Oxford Edition of Blackstone, Oxford University Press, 2016)

Work in Progress

"Prescription and Proof in Legal Scholarship" (on the role of prescriptive arguments and forensic modes of analysis in legal scholarship)

Legal Fictions and the Legal Imagination (book-length study of fictions in the common law since the seventeenth century)

"Lord Mansfield and the Reformulation of the Legal Decision"