Associate Professor & Co-Director, Centre for Innovation Law & Policy

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

Tel.: 416-978-0293

Faculty Assistant:   Nancy Bueler 

See also Prof. Stern's pages on SSRN,, google scholar, & ORCID or scroll down for 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.  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. He is co-chair of the Critical Analysis of Law Workshop, and is co-editor of Critical Analysis of Law. His research has been funded by SSHRC and the Foundation for Legal Research.

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.

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

"Fanny Hill and the "Laws of Decency": Investigating Obscenity in Eighteenth-Century England," forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Life 43:2 (Apr. 2019)

"Literary Analysis of Law," in The Oxford Handbook of Historical Legal Research, ed. Markus Dubber & Christopher Tomlins (Oxford University Press, 2018), 63-78

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

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

"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 [on google books

"Margins of Authority: Coke's Institutes and the Epistemology of the String Cite," Law and Humanities 11(1) (2017), 121-36

"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) (on google books) [an excerpt from the Introduction is here]

For a full list, please see this publications page.

Research Materials on Law and Literature

  • Ideas for paper topics (pdf)

  • Legal Novels database (law, lawyers, judges, and trials in English & American fiction, circa 1850-1920)

Casebook: Basic Principles of Canadian Civil Procedure (pdf, approx 450 pages)

Work in Progress

"Prescription and Proof in Legal Scholarship" (draft 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)

“Artistic Copyright and Derivative Rights in Nineteenth-Century England” (on changing views about infringement in visual copyright)

"The Legal Imagination in Historical Perspective," in Amalia Amaya and Maks Del Mar, eds., Virtue, Emotion, and Imagination in Legal Reasoning (Hart, 2019)

"Legal Affect in Fulbeck’s Direction or Preparation to the Study of the Law," in Susan Bandes et al, eds. The Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Law and Emotions (Elgar, 2019)

"Factuality, Evidence and Truth in Factual Narratives in the Law," in Narrative Factuality: A Handbook, ed. Monika Fludernik and Marie-Laure Ryan (de Gruyter, Revisions Series 2018)

Co-Editor (with Maksymilian Del Mar & Bernadette Meyler), The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (2019)