SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Protecting Rights in the Digital Age: The Application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Cyberspace
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

Leah West is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law. Leah practices and studies national security law, and her current teaching and research interests explore the application of criminal, constitutional and international law to state conduct in cyberspace, and the role of gender in counter-terrorism. She joined the faculty at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University as a Lecturer of National Security and Intelligence in July 2019. 

Leah regularly lectures and engages with the media on her areas of research interest, and has testified before the Senate Committee on Security and Defence. She is actively involved in the organization of the Canadian National Rounds of the Phillip C Jessup International Law Moot. She is also a founding editor of the Intrepid Blog ( 

Leah previously served as Counsel with the Department of Justice in the National Security Litigation and Advisory Group where she appeared before the Federal Court in designated proceedings and the Security Intelligence Review Committee.  Before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2016, Leah clerked for the Honourable Justice Mosley of the Federal Court of Canada.

Prior to attending law school, Leah served in the Canadian Armed Forces for ten years as an Armoured Officer. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as a Junior Operations Officer where she developed the Female Engagement Strategy. 

University of Toronto, SJD Candidate (2018-Present)
University of Ottawa, LLM- International Humanitarian and Security Law (2018)
University of Toronto, JD (2015)
American Military University, MA - Intelligence Studies (2012)
Royal Military College of Canada, BA (Hons)- Politics
Awards and Distinctions
Joseph A Bombardier Doctoral Fellowship (2019-2022)
Aspen Security Forum Scholar (2019)
PEO Scholar Award (2019)
University of Toronto Faculty of Law Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2019)
CDAI Nichola Goddard "Game Changer" Award (2017)
University of Ottawa Anti-Terrorism Law Fellowship (2016-2018)
University of Ottawa Admission Scholarship (2016)
Women in Defence and Security Memorial Scholarship (2014)
Royal Military College "Sword of Honour" (2007)
Canadian Defence Association Profession of Arms Award (2007)
CIS Academic All Canadian (2005, 2006, 2007)
Professional Affiliations
Member in Good Standing- Ontario Law Society
Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society
Canadian Bar Association
Ontario Bar Association
Selected Publications

Papers in refereed Publications

“Canada’s Civilian Cyber Warriors and the International Legal Implications of a “Strong Secure and Engaged Cyber Policy,” Feb 2019, CDA Institute Vimy Paper Vol 41.

“Cyber Force: The International Legal Implications of the Communication Security Establishment’s Expanded Mandate under Bill C-59” 16 Can. J. L. & Tech. 381- 416.

“The Problem of Relevance: Intelligence to Evidence Lessons from UK Terrorism Prosecutions” (2018) 41:4 Manitoba Law
Journal 57-112.

with Craig Forcese, “Killing Citizens: Core Legal Dilemmas in the Targeted Killing of Canadian Terrorist Fighters Abroad”
(2017) 54 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 134-187


with J. Davis and A. Amarasingam, "Canada is Starting to Outlaw Far-Right Groups, and It’s About Time" (9 July 2019),

with J. Davis and A. Amarasingam, "Where's the plan for Canadian ISIS Members Overseas?" (17 June 2019) Policy Options

with A. Amarasingam, "Revoking citizenship of ISIS members is not the answer" (20 Feb 2019) Huffington Post UK

“Canada’s Foreign Fighter Problem is No Surprise” (24 October 2018)

“Canada Tries Domestic Bulk Collection: It Just Might Work,” (26 March 2018)

Forthcoming Publications

with Craig Forcese, National Security Law, 2nd Ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2019)

“Watchful Eyes: Review and Oversight in Canada” in Stephanie Carvin, Thomas Juneau and Craig Forcese, eds, The Canadian Security and Intelligence Community (forthcoming).

with Craig Forcese, “Judicial supervision of counter-terrorism laws in comparative democracies” in Ben Saul ed, Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism, 2nd Ed (forthcoming Edward Elgar: North Hampton).

with Craig Forcese,  "Building New Haystacks: Information Retention and Data Exploitation by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service" (2019) 57 Alberta Law Review.


Research Interests
Canadian Constitutional Law
Charter of Rights
Comparative Law
Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Feminist Analysis of Law
Immigration and Citizenship Law
International Law
National Security Law and Anti-Terrorism Law
Committee Members