Tuesday, February 9, 2016

By Lucianna Ciccocioppo

Faculty of Law scholars Yasmin Dawood and Anthony Niblett have been awarded Canada Research Chairs in law, in recognition of their outstanding scholarship and expertise. In total, the University of Toronto received 41 CRCs in today’s announcement--the most of any Canadian university--with 34 new chairs and seven renewals.

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced 305 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs for 53 post-secondary institutions across the country, a $260-million investment in the CRC program.

Headshot of Yasmin DawoodProf. Dawood has been awarded the Canada Research Chair in Democracy, Constitutionalism and Electoral Law (Tier 2), which officially begun on October 1, 2015, and Prof. Niblett has received the Canada Research Chair in Law, Economics and Innovation (Tier 2), which officially begun on January 1, 2016. These chairs are funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Dawood is a world-renowned scholar in election law and democratic governance. Her work is comparative and interdisciplinary in nature, and draws upon election law, political theory, empirical social science, legal theory, comparative constitutional law and law and courts. She is cross-appointed to the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her expertise on election law has been at the forefront on important public issues in Canada. Together with five colleagues across the country, she wrote two open letters to Parliament expressing significant concern about the impact of the proposed Fair Elections Act on electoral fairness and voting rights. She also testified before Parliament on this issue and organized a public forum at the law school on the Fair Elections Act, which was subsequently aired on the Canadian Parliamentary Channel, CPAC.

Dawood has been published widely in journals such as the Election Law Journal, Supreme Court Law Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Toronto Law Journal, McGill Law Journal, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, NYU Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Duke Journal of Law & Public Policy, Boston University Law Review, and the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, among others.

As an active participant in scholarly venues in her field, Dawood has been invited to present at numerous national and international workshops and conferences devoted to election law and democratic governance, including at Duke Law School, NYU Law School, McGill Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal Law School, University of Ottawa Law School, American Constitution Society’s Junior Scholars Workshop, Brennan Center of Justice at NYU, the University of Maryland Law School Discussion Group on Constitutionalism, and Boston University Law School, among others.

Headshot of Anthony NiblettProfessor Anthony Niblett is a rising star scholar and has developed an international reputation with enormous potential in the field of law and economics. He brings a keen interest in interdisciplinary work to his scholarship in law, which involves designing and constructing large datasets to analyze legal doctrine—in effect, “teaching a computer to think like a lawyer”—to investigate the behaviour of judges, litigants, and contracting parties. Applying rigorous mathematical models, Niblett investigates whether judges’ biases offset one another, and whether whistleblowing to courts provides a more efficient mechanism than whistleblowing to regulators.

As a theorist and an empiricist, Professor Niblett has published in law reviews, and in flagship law and economics journals such as the Journal of Legal Studies and the International Review of Law & Economics. Of particular note, he has co- authored with Judge Richard Posner, the most cited legal scholar in the world, and Professor Andrei Shleifer, the most cited economist in the world.

Niblett has received various grants to further develop his research, including a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and a Connaught New Researcher Grant. He has presented at a variety of top international conferences, such as the American Law & Economics Association, European Law & Economics Association, and International Society for New Institutional Economics, as well as a variety of subject-matter specific conferences. In addition, he has presented and shared his scholarship at Harvard, University of Chicago, Duke, Northwestern, and the University of Southern California. An active participant in his field who is committed to bringing his research and teaching to public service, Niblett has discussed his work with the Ontario judiciary and key policy makers, with a view to exploring how changes in jurisdiction may affect litigant behaviour.

The Canada Research Chairs program was launched in 2000 to help attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and emerging scholars in engineering and natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. The program is based on a tri-agency initiative which includes the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.