Michaël Lessard

SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Giving Effect to Voiceless Autonomy: Death, Incapacity, and Animals
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5
University of Toronto, SJD (in progress)
New York University, LLM (Legal Theory)
McGill University, BCL & LLB (Hons.)
Awards and Distinctions
SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship
FRQSC Doctoral Research Scholarship
Macdonald Travelling Scholarship (McGill Faculty of Law)
National Millennium Excellence Entrance Award (Government of Canada)
Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal (Government of Québec)
Professional Affiliations
Barreau du Québec (2016)
Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law
Institut de recherches et d’études féministes
Théâtre du Portage
Young Bar of Montréal
Other information


  • Bodies, Identities and the Self 
    (mainly Health Law & Bioethics, Animal Law, Law of Persons, Family Law)
  • Sexual and Conjugal Violence
  • Linguistic Sexism 
Selected Publications


Mourir au 21e siècle : entre corporalités et technologies [trans. Dying in the 21st Century: Corporealities and Technologies], Montréal, Yvon Blais [forthcoming in 2020] (edited volume with Audrey Deveault). 

Réflexions contemporaines sur la mort, volume 2 : Perspectives sociales [trans. Contemporary Reflections on Death, Volume 2: Social Perspectives], Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, M éditeur [forthcoming in 2020] (edited volume with Audrey Deveault). 

Réflexions contemporaines sur la mort, volume 1 : Perspectives culturelles [trans. Contemporary Reflections on Death, Volume 1: Cultural Perspectives], Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, M éditeur [forthcoming in 2020] (edited volume with Audrey Deveault). 

Manuel de grammaire non sexiste et inclusive [trans. Non-Sexist and Inclusive Grammar Guide], Paris, Syllepse, 2018 [French edition of the Grammaire non sexiste de la langue française](with Suzanne Zaccour). 

Grammaire non sexiste de la langue française [trans. Non-Sexist Grammar of the French Language]Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, M éditeur, 2017 (with Suzanne Zaccour). 

Dictionnaire critique du sexisme linguistique [trans. Critical Dictionary of Linguistic Sexism], Montréal, Somme Toute, 2017 (edited volume with Suzanne Zaccour). 



L’animal, toujours dans l’enclos de la propriété? Bilan des cinq premières années suivant l’adoption de l’article 898.1 CcQ [trans. The Animal, Still a Thing? Overview of the First Five Years Since the Enactment of 898.1 CCQ] [under review]. 

  • Arguing that the 2015 animal law reform in Québec limits an owner’s right of abusus over their animal, thus limiting their right to kill this animal without a compelling reason. 

Remuer ciel et terre : L’autonomie corporelle après la mort à l’épreuve de l’exhumation [trans. Leave No Stone Unturned: Bodily Autonomy After Death and Disinterment] [under review]. 

  • Arguing that judges, in order to discover the deceased’s presumptive wishes in the absence of clearly expressed wishes regarding the disposal of their body, uses a narrative approach or a relational approach to human nature. Theorizing and critically assessing the case law on disinterment since the adoption of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994. 

Quel espoir pour les victimes de violences sexuelles ou conjugales? L’indemnisation étatique : enquête sur une structure juridique défaillante [trans. What Hope is There for Victims of Sexual or Domestic Violence? State Compensation: Investing a Failing Legal Structure], Cahiers de droit [forthcoming in 2020]. 

  • Providing a critical assessment of the Crime Victims Compensation Act of Québec. 

A Dynamic Judicial Approach to Diachronic Legislative Integrity, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence [forthcoming in 2020].

  • Arguing that theories of statutory interpretation should account for the fact that legislative bodies are in a dynamic process of building coherence and consistency in the law, but that the law might not be a coherent, consistent and complete whole yet. Consequently, courts ought to give more importance to legal norms that a legislative body is most committed to and less to norms this body has neglected or abandoned although they might still be visible in legal texts. 

Les amoureux sur les bancs publics: Le traitement juridique du polyamour en droit québécois [trans. Lovers on Public Benches: The Legal Treatment of Polyamory under Québec Law], (2019) 32:1 Canadian Journal of Family Law 1. 

  • Defining polyamory, monoamory, and related concepts. Arguing that four approaches are used in Québec to orient people toward monogamous relationships and away from polyamorous relationships: (1) limiting to two the number of parents per child, (2) facilitating spousal care, (3) protecting spouses against economic vulnerability, and (4) prohibiting certain polyamorous arrangements (criminalization of polygamy). 

Quel genre de droit? Autopsie du sexisme dans la langue juridique [trans. Autopsy of Sexism in the Legal Language], [2019] (2017) 47:2 Revue de droit de l’Université Sherbrooke 225 (with Suzanne Zaccour). 

  • Tracking sexism in the language of the law, laying down a nomenclature of jurilinguistic sexisms (lexical, grammatical, terminological) as well as developing two new notions: the linguistic glass ceiling and ostentatious feminines. 
  • Cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Friesen, 2020 SCC 9. 

Le calcul des aliments du parent de fait : de l’approche synchronique à l’approche étapiste [trans. Calculating the support paid by a de facto parent: moving from a synchronic to a layered approach], (2019) 60:1 Cahiers de droit 251. 

  • Arguingfor the adoption of a layered approach to child support, under which the support obligation of a de facto parent is subsidiary to the obligation of the civil parent. 

« Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together? » L’obligation déontologique des juges face aux victimes d’agression sexuelle [trans. The Ethical Obligations of Judges in Sexual Violence Cases], [2019] (2017) 63:1 McGill Law Journal 155. 

  • Arguingthat judges commit a breach of judicial ethics when they make a remark or a statement that (1) is likely to maintain the myth of the good victim of sexual violence, (2) participates in one of the four related stereotypes condemned in law and (3) is not justified by its relevance and necessity for legal reasoning.

Les dénonciations publiques d’agressions sexuelles : du mauvais usage de la présomption d’innocence [trans. Public Denunciation of Sexual Assault: Misunderstanding the Presumption of Innocence], (2017) 29:2 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 401. 

  • Arguing that using the notion of presumption of innocence to prevent victims from denunciating cases of sexual assault is an inappropriate use of the notion. 



Coronavirus : développements récents en droit de la famille durant la pandémie de la COVID-19 (14 avril au 1er juin 2020) [trans. Coronavirus: Recent Developments in Family Law During the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 14 to June 1st, 2020)], (2020) June Repères. 

  • Providing a critical overview of family law developments, discussing among others return to school cases.  

Coronavirus : développements récents en droit de la famille concernant la garde et l’accès durant la pandémie de la COVID-19 (13 mars au 13 avril 2020) [trans. Coronavirus: Recent Developments in Family Law Regarding Custody and Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 13 to April 13, 2020)], (2020) April Repères 2983. 

  • Providing a critical overview of family law developments, discussing among others custody and access cases. 

Commentaire sur la décision Roy c. Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal – Responsabilité civile pour entrave à la volonté de don d’organes et de tissus : l’autonomie corporelle après la mort [trans. Commentary on Roy c. Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal – Civil liability for obstructing the wish to donate organs and tissues : Bodily autonomy after death], (2020) March Repères 2924. 

  • Providing a critical assessment of Roy c. Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, 2019 QCCQ 6257, a rare case of civil liability in the context of posthumous organ donation. 

Dialogue dissident : la désobéissance a-t-elle sa place sous une autorité linguistique inclusive? [trans. Dissenting dialogue: does disobedience have its place under an inclusive linguistic authority?], (2018) 53 Cahiers de l’éducation permanente 35 (with Suzanne Zaccour). 

  • Arguing that disobedience to linguistic authorities is not only justified when confronted to sexist institutions but also to inclusive ones in some circumstances. 

Parler féministe [trans. Speak Feminist], (2018) 1 “Lumières” Revue L’Esprit Libre 15 (with Suzanne Zaccour). 

  • Arguing in favour of “ostentatious” feminine words, that is, feminine words audibly distinct from masculine words. 



Poursuivre son agresseur aux petites créances? [trans. Suing One’s Sexual Assailant at the Small Claims Division?] in Penser une justice féministe, J. Chateauvert and S. Mayer (eds.), Remue-ménage, Montréal [forthcoming in 2020] (with Suzanne Zaccour). 

  • Outlining the pros and cons of suing one’s sexual assailant at the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec. 



Mémoire sur le traitement juridique des personnes polyamoureuses et de leurs enfants [trans. Brief on the Legal Treatment of Polyamorists and their Children], Ministère de la Justice du Québec, June 28, 2019.  

Reviewed and commented on the draft of Terminology Standardization Division (Government of Canada), Gender and sexual diversity glossary, November 12, 2018. 

Mémoire sur la situation juridique des personnes polyamoureuses au Québec [trans. Brief on the Legal Status of Polyamorous Persons in Québec], Commission citoyenne sur le droit de la famille, Chambre des notaires du Québec, August 2018. 



“Le droit protège-t-il la réputation des agresseurs?”, La Presse, July 15, 2020, online

“À qui appartient la langue française?”, Le Devoir, June 11, 2020, online.

“Le féminin mérite-t-il d’être entendu?”, Le Devoir, February 10, 2020, online

“La Cour d'appel tranche : Les chiens dangereux peuvent-ils être euthanasiés par les municipalités ?”, Jeune Barreau de Montréal, January 16, 2020 (with Romane Bonenfant), online

“Don d’organes : Pour un respect des personnes décédées”, La Presse, November 30, 2019, online.

“Comment aider les victimes de violence sexuelle et conjugale? Une réforme de l’IVAC est nécessaire”, La Presse, November 11, 2019, online.

“Avoir le droit de définir sa mort?”, Le Devoir, October 21, 2019, online.

“Violences sexuelles : un récent projet de loi ignoré des médias”, Jeune Barreau de Montréal, October 7, 2019 (with Romane Bonenfant), online.

“Il est temps de considerer la triparenté”, La Presse, August 24, 2019, online.

“Un consentement implicite, vraiment, docteur?”, La Presse, July 5, 2019, online.

“Laissez les sorcières, McCarthy et la liberté d’expression en paix!”, La Presse, February 21, 2019, online.

“Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” L’obligation déontologique des juges face aux victimes d’agression sexuelle, Extrajudiciaire, June, 2018. 

“Des bancs d’école au banc des accusés: le masculin destitué”, Le Devoir, November 18, 2017 (with Suzanne Zaccour), online

“Quand la ‘neutralité’ grammaticale rend les femmes invisibles”, Le Devoir, January 16, 2017 (with Suzanne Zaccour), online

“Le français n’a pas de sexe ?”, Ricochet, November 30, 2016 (with Suzanne Zaccour), online

“La langue du plafond de verre”, Ricochet, September 21, 2016 (with Suzanne Zaccour), online

“Le droit à la peine la moins sévère”, La Presse, April 25, 2016, online.

“Le vide juridique de l’aide médicale à mourir”, Le Devoir, December 12, 2015, online

“Du mauvais usage de la présomption d’innocence”, Le Devoir, October 30, 2015, online

“L’indignation. (Et après?)”, Faits et causes, December 2, 2014, (with Étienne Cloutier). 

“Jugement sur la prostitution : La réaction d’Ottawa pèche par électoralisme”, Le Devoir, January 14, 2014, online

Research Interests
Civil Law
Critical Legal Theory
Family Law
Feminist Analysis of Law
Health Law
Legal History
Legal Theory
Moral Philosophy
Sexuality and the Law
Committee Members
Andrew Franklin-Hall (Philosophy)

Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly

Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly
SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Whose Justice? A Comparative Approach to Disempowerment, Participation and Access to Justice
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. His research explores the role of public participation in improving access to justice. Originally from Quebec City, Jérémy completed his bachelor in civil law and common law at McGill University as a Loran Scholar. He then served as a law clerk to Justice Clément Gascon at the Supreme Court of Canada, and practised as a lawyer in civil, appellate and constitutional litigation in Montreal. In parallel to his research, he remains actively involved in access to justice initiatives, including as a pro bono lawyer in two constitutional cases and as a volunteer for Interligne’s LGBTQ+ legal information clinic in Montreal.

Doctor of Juridical Science (In Progress), University of Toronto, 2019-2023 (Expected)
Bachelor of Civil Law / Bachelor of Laws (Honours), McGill University, 2011-2015
Awards and Distinctions
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, SSHRC, 2020
Doctoral Scholarship, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, 2020
Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral, SSHRC, 2020 (Declined)
Doctoral Scholarship, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et Culture, 2020 (Declined)
Canada Graduate Scholarship - Master's Level, SSHRC, 2019
Aimé Geoffrion Medal, McGill University, 2015
Dean's Honours List, McGill University, 2013-2015
Maxwell Cohen Award in public international law, McGill University, 2015
Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt Prize in corporate and commercial law, McGill University, 2015
Bereskin & Parr Prize in intellectual and industrial property, McGill University, 2014
Patricia Allen Award for significant involvement in the life of the Faculty, McGill University, 2014
Kark Claxton Jr. Memorial Award, McGill University, 2014
Borden Ladner Gervais Research Fellowship, McGill University, 2012
W. Garfield Weston Loran Award, Loran Scholars Foundation, 2011
Professional Affiliations
Quebec Bar, 2017
Canadian Bar Association
Selected Publications

“Inspiring Analogies: From Access to Healthcare to Access to Justice” in Vinícius Alves Barreto da Silva, ed., Access to Justice in the Americas (forthcoming, 2020).

“The Protection of Legitimate Expectations in Global Administrative Law” in George P. Politakis, Tomi Kohiyama and Thomas Lieby, eds., ILO 100 – Law for Social Justice (Geneva: ILO, 2019) 395-438 (with Louise Otis).

"Canada can help with the Rohingyas' legal needs"Policy Options, 18 December 2019 (with Louise Otis).

"Les droits des personnes trans : quelques leçons d'un recours historique" (2019) 59:2 Education Canada 38.

Research Interests
Canadian Constitutional Law
Civil Law
Comparative Law
Judicial Decision-Making
Legal Process
Committee Members

Konstanze von Schütz

SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Sharing Control in the Law of Property: Lesser and Limited Property Rights and the Numerus Clausus-Principle
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’ Faculty of Law. My research focuses on private law, particularly on the law of property, which I examine through theoretical and comparative lenses.

In my doctoral research project, I study how the law of property both permits and restricts the sharing of control and use between owners and non-owners. I work out how the essential features of a historically grown conception of ownership are central to comprehending the emergence of different types of non-ownership property rights and their interactions.

I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Bucerius Law School, Hamburg (Germany) with a specialization in International Commercial Law, Conflict of Laws, and Cross-Border Civil Procedure and have passed the first and second German “state examinations in law” with distinction. As part of my training, I have served as a law clerk at the Higher Regional Court of Appeal of Hamburg. I also hold a Master of Laws (LL.M.)-degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to commencing my graduate research, I practiced as a lawyer in the areas of Intellectual Property and Litigation.  

In the winter term 2020/21, I will be a visiting researcher and Coing Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt a.m. (Germany).

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) cand., University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, 2017 - present
LL.M. University of Toronto, 2016
Second State Examination in Law (Bar Exam), Hamburg (Germany), 2014
First State Examination in Law, Hamburg (Germany), 2011
LL.B. Bucerius Law School, Hamburg (Germany), 2010
Awards and Distinctions
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship, 2020-2022
- Helmut-Coing Scholarship for research at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt a.M.), 2018
- Dean's Graduate Student Leadership Award (University of Toronto, Faculty of Law), 2018
- German Academic Exchange Fund (DAAD) Doctoral Excellence Scholarship, 2017-2018
- Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst Scholarship for Talented Students, 2007-2011
- German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes) Scholarship for Talented Students, 2007-2009
Selected Publications

"From Local to Global on Multiple Pathways: A Review of Amnon Lehavi, Property Law in a Globalizing World" (forthcoming (2020) 68 American Journal of Comparative Law)

 "Immanent Ratio Legis and Statutory Interpretation" in Klappstein, Verena & Maciej Dybowski, eds, Ratio Legis - Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives (Springer, 2018). https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319742700

Works in Progress

« Des Lieux par le Droit : Le Privé, le Public, et le Droit de Propriété » (engl : "Places through Law : The Private, the Public and the Right of Property")

„Dereliktionsverbote im deutschen Sachenrecht“ (engl: "Prohibitions of Abandonment in German Property Law")

Research Interests
Civil Law
Comparative Law
Equity and Trusts
Legal History
Legal Theory
Political Philosophy and Theory
Private International Law
Property Law
Committee Members

Patrick Garon-Sayegh

SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Medicine at the Bar: The Coproduction of Law and Medicine in the Courtroom
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

I study how ideas about evidence and fact are mobilized in the context of medico-legal, bioethical and health policy arguments. The main thrust of my research is directed towards building bridges between (i) evidence law and legal scholarship, and (ii) the sociology, history, and philosophy of medical science.  

My doctoral project investigates how legal and scientific arguments—most notably those arising out of the "evidence-based medicine movement"—interact to shape physicians' standard of care. In particular, I am examining how expert witness testimony before the courts can crystallize standards of care that were previously either unarticulated or non-existent. My aim is to draw on the sociology, history, and philosophy of medical science to add theoretical depth to the very practical questions faced by trial lawyers, medical expert witnesses and judges. Examples of these questions are: How do we determine what constitutes appropriate medical care in a specific case? How do we determine what counts as a medical error? How do we move from general observations and general knowledge to specific judgments about a case? 

LLM Bioethics, McGill University
BCL-LLB, McGill University
BA Communication Studies, Concordia University
Awards and Distinctions
McGill Research Group on Health and Law Fellowship
Professional Affiliations
Barreau du Québec
Selected Publications

"Analysis of medical malpractice claims to improve quality of care: Cautionary remarks" (2019) 25:5 Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 744 [Peer reviewed; online].

Academic Blogs

"Medical Malpractice Litigation, Access to Justice and the CMPA", Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy, 16 May 2019, online [Peer reviewed].

"On Medicine, Morality, and Justifying Boxing's Legality", Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy, 21 December 2018, online  [Peer reviewed].

"Quel avenir pour les soins aux aînés?", Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy, 22 September 2018, online  [Peer reviewed].

Examiner le passé pour mieux relever les défis du présent dans le système de santé”, Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy, 2 June 2018, online [Peer reviewed].

Research Interests
Civil Law
Health Law
Judicial Decision-Making
Legal Ethics
Legal Process
Legal Theory
Committee Members
Alison Thompson, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Prof. Kent Roach co-authors "Secret evidence should not be allowed in civil cases"

Monday, October 23, 2017

In a commentary in the Globe and Mail, Prof. Kent Roach and the University of Ottawa's Craig Forcese analyze the issues around a federal government proposal to allow the use of secret evidence in civil proceedings ("Secret evidence should not be allowed in civil cases," October 20, 2017).

Read the full commentary on the Globe and Mail website, or below.

Getting into UofT Law - JD Admissions

JD Admissions visits UofT Department of Criminology

JD AdmissionsGet the inside scoop on applying to our JD program directly from the Faculty of Law Admissions Office and hear from current law students. 

Learn about our whole-person admission process and how to improve your application to our JD program. 

Mike Rosenberg Wins Strosberg Prize

Students and Faculty members will be delighted to learn that Mike Rosenberg, JD III, has won this year's prestigious Harvey Strosberg prize, worth ten thousand dollars, awarded each year for the best student paper on a class action topic. The paper will be published in the Canadian Class Action Law Review under the title of "The Rise and Imminent Fall of Waiver of Tort in Class Proceedings."

The paper began its career as a term paper in the Class Actions course offered by Professors Ziegel and Watson in the spring term of 2008. Mike continued to work on the paper last summer while working at McCarthys, then refined it further while taking Prof Ernest Weinrib's restitution course in the fall 2008 term. The topic is of great practical and theoretical importance in class action proceedings  and is currently being litigated before Canadian courts. The debate will determine whether class members will have a remedy against a defendant whose product is  defective or injurious even though  class members cannot prove that they were individually injured by the defect. The plaintiffs have sought to overcome this difficulty  by arguing that the defendant was unjustly enriched at the expense of class members and should therefore be required to disgorge its ill gotten gain.