Majid Nikouei

SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Constituent Power in Theory and Practice of Islamic Republic of Iran: A Historical Analysis
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

Majid Nikouei thinks about modern constitutionalism and its challenges in Muslim-majority countries. He is particularly interested in how the elements of modern constitutionalism, such as rule of law and human rights, can be implemented in the Iranian and Shi'ite contexts. Before joining the University of Toronto, Majid was an adjacent lecturer at Islamic Azad University (Iran) and has taught courses in constitutional law, Islam and human rights, and public law in Islam.

PhD (Public Law), Shahid Beheshti university (formerly known as National University), Tehran, Iran (summa cum laude)
M.Soc.Sc.(International Human Rights Law), Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU), Turku, Finland (summa cum laude)
L.L.M. (International Law), Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran (highest honours)
L.L.B. Shahid Beheshti university (formerly known as National University), Tehran, Iran
Awards and Distinctions
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Scholarship, 2019.
Visiting Scholar, Pretoria University, South Africa, 2016.
NOET (National Organization of Educational Testing) Scholarship, Iran, 2005.
Professional Affiliations
Lawyer, Iranian Central Bar Association, 2017-present.
Adjunct Professor, Islamic Azad University of Najaf Aabad, 2015-2018.
Head of International and Human Rights Committee in Isfahan Bar Association (Iran), 2018.
Member of LAWJIP (Law, Justice and International Peace) Foundation, Esfahan, Iran, 2017
Selected Publications


"Jurisprudence of Tolerance: Hate Speech, Article 17 and Theory of Democracy in the European Convention on Human Rights" (2019) 8:1 International Human Rights Law Review 67-88 (with M. Zamani).

"Intervention by Invitation, Collective Self-defence and the Enigma of Effective Control" (2017) 16:4 Chinese Journal of International Law 663-694 (with M. Zamani).

"The Secession of Crimea: Where Does International Law Stand?" (2016) 85:1 Nordic Journal of International Law 37-64 (with M. Zamani).

Persian (Farsi)


"From Natural Law to Natural Rights: Conceptual Analysis and Historical Evolution" (2017) 47:3 Public Law Studies Quarterly 747-769 (with S. Seyed Fatemi).

"A Critical analysis of ‘Disclosive Quality of Certainty (Qat‘) in Revealing Reality’ in Shi‘i Osul al-fiqh‌ in Light of Modern Epistemology" (2019) 11:20 Journal of Studies in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence 373-402 (with H Saraf). 

"The Avicenna’s Contribution to the Natural Law Theory of Aquinas" (2016) 2:2 Journal of Comparative Studies on Islamic and Western Law 49-76 (with S. Seyed Fatemi).

 "Reexamining the independent rationality (al-mustaqillat al-‘aqliyya) in Shi‘i Osul al-fiqh in Light of Rawls’s Analytical Framework in ‘Theory of Justice’" Journal of Comparative Law (NAMEH-YE MOFID) Forthcoming.

"Examining the Legality of Intervention by Invitation: A Critical Approach to Interventions in Mali, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen" (2017) 18:54 The Quarterly Journal of Public Law Research 289-317 (with M. Zamani).

"Examining the Exercise of Self-determination in Crimea from the Perspective of International and Constitutional Law" (2016) 73:1 Revue de la Recherche Juridique 253-284 (with M. Zamani).

"Human Rights and Rawls’s the Law of People: A Critical Approach" (2012) 76:79 The Judiciary Law Journal 125-153.


Natural Law in Shi‘ite Teachings and Its Implications For Theory of State, Tehran: Nashre Ney (forthcoming).

 Translation From English to Farsi: Anderi Marmor, Philosophy of Law, Princeton University Press, 2011. The translation was published by Negahe Moaser Publication, 2012 (with S. Abedi).

Research Interests
International Law
Islamic Law
Law and Religion
Legal History
Legal Theory
Political Philosophy and Theory
Committee Members
Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at University of Toronto

Legal History Workshop

Patricia McMahon, Tory’s, and Robert Bothwell, University of Toronto

Radioactive: The Life and Lies of Boris Pregel

6.30 p.m. J230 Jackman Hall

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)

Hassan M. Ahmad

SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
The New Immunity for Transnational Corporate Human Rights Violations
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

Hassan M. Ahmad is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, and recently returned from the University of Cambridge where he was a visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Hassan's doctoral thesis explores the liability of multinational corporations in domestic courts pursuant to human rights violations in the Global South. Specifically, he analyzes the role governments play in shielding private corporations from liabiliy for alleged abuses abroad.

Recognized by the American Society of International Law as a "New Voice" and by the American Society of Comparative Law as a "Young Comparativist," Hassan's research interests have focused on doctrinal gaps in domestic and international law, particularly as they relate to access to justice issues for marginalized groups. His work has appeared in, among others, the Annual Proceedings of the American Society of International Law (ASIL)Berkeley Journal of International Law (online), Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Issues in International Criminal Justice, and the Pace International Law Review. He has presented his research at the following venues: European Society of International Law, Law and Society Association, American Society of International Law, American Society of Comparative Law, Yale Law School, the University of Cambridge, UC Berkeley, and the International Criminal Court. His legal commentary has been featured in media outlets such as the Toronto Star, CBC News, CBC Radio as well as local television, radio, and newspaper outlets. 

Hassan teaches an international law course in the Law and Society program at Wilfrid Laurier University. He also teaches an introductory course on Canadian law to graduate law students at the University of Toronto. He has guest lectured in various law and undergraduate classes at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. He previously co-instructed an International Criminal Law course and related moot at Osgoode Hall. 

Prior to commencing his doctoral research, Hassan was a civil litigator appearing before trial and appeal courts as well as administrative tribunals. In addition, he worked at the International Criminal Court where his research contributed to the court's first decision on command responsibility. He also served as a judicial extern for Judge Marsha S. Berzon of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Hassan continues to litigate select public interest cases including a several-week hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Al-Turki v. HMQ Ontario). He also supervises law students in applications to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. 

LL.M., UC Berkeley School of Law (highest honours)
J.D., Osgoode Hall Law School
M.A. (Economics), University of Toronto
B.Sc (Biomaterials), UWO (gold medalist)
B.A., Ivey Business School, UWO (distinction)
Awards and Distinctions
Canada Graduate Scholarship in Honour of Nelson Mandela
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, SSHRC
Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, SSHRC
Nathan Strauss Q.C. Graduate Fellowship In International Law
O’Brien Fellowship for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (Declined)
University of Toronto Doctoral Fellowship
“New Voice” in International Law - American Society of International Law
"Young Comparativist" - American Society of Comparative Law
William K. Coblentz Civil Rights Fellowship
The Honourable Ian Scott Public Interest Fellowship
Professional Affiliations
Visiting Scholar, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge
Adjunct Professor (International Law), Wilfrid Laurier University
Instructor (Canadian Legal Methods), University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
Board Member, International Law Section, Ontario Bar Association
Founding Member, International Refugee Assistance Project, Osgoode Hall Law School
Supervising Lawyer, International Human Rights Program, University of Toronto
Fellow, Philippe Kirsch Institute
Mooting Instructor (International Criminal Law), Osgoode Hall Law School
Selected Publications

Articles & Book Chapters

Hassan M. Ahmad, "The Missing Forum for Corporate Human Rights Violations in Africa" in Business and Human Rights Law in Africa (eds. D. Olawuyi & O. Abe, forthcoming 2020). 

Hassan Ahmad, Context at the International Criminal Court” (2017) 29 Pace Int’l L. Rev. 132.

Andrew Roman, Jonathan Heeney and Hassan Ahmad, “Class Actions In Canada: Conflicting Purposes and Unpredictable Outcomes” (2013) 9 Canadian Class Actions Review.

Hassan Ahmad, “The Treatment Action Campaign and the Three Dimensions of Lawyering: Reflections from the Rainbow Nation” (2013) 10 J Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS 17-24. 

Hassan Ahmad, “Equal Liability for all Members of a Joint Criminal Enterprise? Lubanga Continues the Deficiencies of the ad hoc Tribunals” (2012) 2 Issues in Int’l Criminal Justice 46.

Conference Proceedings

Hassan Ahmad, “Context at the International Criminal Court” in Conflict, Accountability, and Justice (2017) ASIL Annual Proceedings.  

Hassan Ahmad, “Traversing the Rule 76 Terrain: Strategizing the Simplified Procedure” (2017) OBA Institute Proceedings.

Book Reviews

Hassan M. Ahmad, The Case for an International Court of Civil Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 57 Can YB Int'l L (2020). 

Hassan Ahmad, Complicity in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2016), 16 J. Int’l Crim Just 491 (2018).

Hassan Ahmad, The Environmental Law of Environmental Impact Assessment  (Cambridge University Press, 2010) 49 Osgoode Hall LJ (2012). 


Elsadig Sheikh et al., “Moving Targets: An Analysis of Global Forced Migration,” Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley, 2017. 


Hassan Ahmad, Courts are handcuffed on corporate human rights abuses abroad, The Conversation, 2019

Hassan Ahmad, For Corporate Liability, Look to Judges, Not Politicians, Canadian Lawyer, 2019

Hassan Ahmad, Tribunals should consider Charter claims, Law Times, 2018

Hassan Ahmad, The Charter, the Great Protector, Law Times, 2017

Hassan Ahmad, Bombs alone won't crush ISIS. What could? IPolitics, 2016.

Hassan Ahmad, The UN Security Council’s Role in Determining Crimes of Aggression, Berkeley Journal of International Law Blog, 2015.

Andrew Roman & Hassan Ahmad, Class action certification for indirect Purchaser Claims: The Sun-Rype And Pro-Sys Decisions of The British Columbia Court Of Appeal, CCH Competition Law Blog, 2011.

Research Interests
Business Corporations
Comparative Law
Critical Legal Theory
International Law
Judicial Decision-Making
Law and Globalization
Legal History
Private International Law
Tort Law and Tort Theory
Committee Members
Bhavani Raman (Dept. of History)
Elizabeth Acorn (Dept. of Political Science)