Common Law Section

Common Law Section Faculty
Contact Information
Fauteux Hall
57 Louis Pasteur St
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5

General Information:
(613) 562-5794
(613) 562-5124


(613) 562-5800 ext.3270
(613) 562-5124

Carissima Mathen

Associate Professor

57 Louis Pasteur St, room 119
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5
(613) 562-5800 ext 3282
(613) 562-5124





BA (McGill), LLB (Osgoode), LLM (Columbia), of the Bar of Ontario.

Professor Mathen joined the Faculty as Associate Professor in 2011.  She teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Comparative Civil Liberties.  Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, Professor Mathen was a member of the Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick.  From 1994-2001, she was Counsel and, later, Director of Litigation for the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) undertaking equality rights litigation before the Supreme Court of Canada and other courts.  She was involved in some of the most formative Charter cases of the Lamer court including Vriend v Alberta, R v RDS, Winnipeg Child and Family Services v G, M v H, R v Darrach and R v Mills

Professor Mathen's primary area of expertise is Canadian constitutional law.  She has authored works on the Charter of Rights, the division of powers, the separation of powers, constitutional litigation, comparative constitutional law and constitutional theory.  She also has published in criminal law, legal pedagogy, and feminist legal theory.   Her work has appeared in various journals including The Supreme Court Law Review, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, National Journal of Constitutional Law, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and Queen’s Law Journal.  Her current scholarship is focused on the doctrine of arbitrariness, section 1 of the Charter, the nature of judging and the role of social media in criminal justice.

In 2010 (with Kim Brooks) Professor Mathen published Women, Law and Equality: A Discussion Guide (Irwin).

Professor Mathen was one of the first legal academics to live tweet from the Supreme Court of Canada.  She is one of the faculty's most active media commentators, appearing on such programs as The Current, Power and Politics, CTV National News, The Agenda, and BBC The World.  She has published numerous op eds and is regularly cited in national print and online media.  



"The Upside of Dissent in Equality Jurisprudence" (2013) 63 Supreme Court Law Review 111-142

"Purposive Interpretation, Quebec and the Supreme Court Act" (2013) 22:3 Constitutional Forum 15-26 (with Michael Plaxton)

" 'A Precarious, Chancy Situation': Aboriginal Gaming Rights in Canada " (2013) 46:2 UBC Law Review 349-395

"Reflecting Culture: Polygamy and the Charter" in Benjamin L. Berger and James Stribopoulos, eds Unsettled Legacy: Thirty Years of Criminal Justice under the Charter (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2012) 391-408 (also published in 2012 57 SCLR 2d)

"HIV, Consent and Criminal Wrongs" (2011) 57 The Criminal Law Quarterly 464-485 (with Michael Plaxton)

“‘The Question Calls for an Answer, and I Propose to Answer It’: The Patriation Reference as Constitutional Method” (2011) 54 The Supreme Court Law Review 143-166

Women, Law and Equality: A Discussion Guide (Toronto: Irwin, 2010) (with Kim Brooks)

"What Religious Freedom Jurisprudence Reveals about Equality" (2009) 6:2 Journal of Law and Equality 163

“Access to Charter Justice and the Rule of Law” (2008) 25 National Journal of Constitutional Law 191-204

“Choices and Controversy: Judicial Appointments in Canada” (2008) 58 U.N.B.L.J.  52-72

“Counting Outsiders: A Critical Exploration of Outsider Course Enrollment in Canadian Legal Education” (2007) 45 Osgoode Hall L.J. 667-732 (with Natasha Bakht, Kim Brooks Gillian Calder, Jennifer Koshan, Sonia Lawrence, & Debra Parkes)

“Dialogue Theory, Judicial Review and Judicial Supremacy: A Comment on ‘Charter Dialogue Revisited’” (2007) 45 Osgoode Hall L.J. 125-146

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Last updated: 2009.12.15