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Joshua Sealy-Harrington

Joshua Sealy-Harrington

Assistant Professor
DepartmentLincoln Alexander School of Law
Areas of ExpertiseCritical race theory, critical disability theory, feminist legal theory, queer legal theory, criminal punishment, constitutional law, law and social movements.

Twitter: @joshuasealy (external link) 

Joshua Sealy-Harrington is a passionate teacher, scholar, and advocate who has received awards for his excellence in teaching (from the University of Ottawa, where he taught “Race, Racism and the Law”), service (from the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada), and advocacy (from the Canadian Law Blog Awards).

Drawing on critical race theory, Sealy-Harrington’s current research (external link)  explores the ways in which law mediates racial hierarchy, with a particular focus on how criminal and constitutional law subordinate Black and Indigenous people, and relatedly, construct notions of racial identity — including through dialogue with gender, sexuality, disability, and class.

Further, as counsel at Power Law (external link) , Sealy-Harrington’s advocacy strategically mobilizes criminal and constitutional law to advance the interests of marginalized communities. He has litigation experience before all levels of court, including as lead counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada. And a majority of his practice involves pro and low bono work for non-profit organizations promoting human rights and social justice, both in Canada and abroad.

Sealy-Harrington writes and speaks broadly. His writing has been featured in several law journals and news outlets (including The Globe and Mail and Newsweek), and has been cited by various tribunals (including the Supreme Court of Canada). Further, he is a frequent speaker to public, private, media and academic organizations, including law schools across Canada, CBC and CTV News, the National Judicial Institute, the Department of Justice, the Criminal Lawywers' Association, and the Advocate's Society. He is most passionate, though, about speaking with equity-seeking groups, including the Black Law Students Association of Canada, the Indigenous Bar Association, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association.

Also an active volunteer, Sealy-Harrington was editor-in-chief of the Canadian Bar Association’s Law Matters magazine for three years, drafts the annual moot problem for the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada’s Isaac Moot, acts as a faculty advisor to Lincoln Alexander Law’s Black Law Students’ Association and Gale Cup mooting team, and is a mentor with Black Future Lawyers.

Before joining the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University, Sealy-Harrington completed a B.Sc. (mathematics) at the University of British Columbia, a J.D. at the University of Calgary, an LL.M. at Columbia Law School, and three clerkships — one for Justice Donald J. Rennie at the Federal Court and two for Justice Clément Gascon at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Journal Articles

Embodying Equality: Stigma, Safety, and Clément Gascon’s Disability Justice Legacy (Supreme Court Law Review; Dec 2021).

The Alchemy of Equality Rights (Constitutional Forum; May 2021).

Twelve Angry (White) Men: The Constitutionality of the Statement of Principles (Ottawa Law Review; March 2020).

Colour as a Discrete Ground of Discrimination (Canadian Journal of Human Rights; June 2018; co- authored with Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton).

The Inventive Concept in Patent Law: Not So Obvious (Intellectual Property Journal; September 2015).

Tied Hands? A Doctrinal and Policy Argument for the Validity of Advance Consent (Canadian Criminal Law Review; March 2014).

Assessing Analogous Grounds: The Doctrinal and Normative Superiority of a Multi-Variable Approach (University of Toronto Journal of Law & Equality; May 2013).

Invited Lectures

“Reading Race in Law: Critical Race Theory, Education and Adjudication”, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Diversity, Inclusion and Access to Justice Committee and the University of Alberta Faculty of Law Annual Symposium, January 2022.

“Critical Race Theory and the Legal Profession”, County of Carleton Law Association in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, November 2021.

“Putting Speech and Equality in Conversation, not Opposition”, Canadian Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference, May 2020.

Conference Presentations

“Cogenerating Identity,” ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon – Global Meeting on Law & Society, July 2022.

“Silly Anecdotes - From White Baselines to White Juries in R v Chouhan,” Osgoode Hall Law School – Constitutional Cases Conference, April, 2022.

“Law Careers Advancing Racial Justice,” Windsor Law – Justice at Work Conference, January 2022.

“Emotional and Perceptual Segregation: The Perils and Promise of Talking Across Identity Lines Today,” Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, January 2022.

“The Role of Critical Race Theory in Designing Anti-Racist and Inclusive Research,” University of Ottawa Faculty of Law – Autumn School on the Methodology of Research in Law, November 2021.

“Integrating Critical Race Theory into the Curriculum of Canada’s Law Schools,” Lincoln Alexander School of Law – LegalVoices Conference, November 2021.

“Section 15 of the Charter – Where We Are and Where We Go From Here,” The Advocates’ Society – Criminal Justice Litigation, Equality, and Discrimination Event, May 2021.

“The Charter of Whites: Systemic Racism and Critical Race Equality in Canada,” The Constitution Act, 1982: 40 Year Later Conference, May 2021.

“A Fireside Chat with Richard Sharpe and Joshua Sealy-Harrington,” Justice Canada Conference on Anti-Racism – A Legal Perspective, April 2021.

“Allies Against Anti-Black Racism,” Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, Ontario Annual Conference, February 2021.

“Law and Social Movements,” Ontario Bar Association and Roundtable of Diversity Associations – Annual Diversity Conference, December 2020.  

“Critical Race Theory and Systemic Racism,” Law Society of Ontario – Human Rights Summit, December 2020. 

“Critical Racial Profiling", Criminal Lawyers’ Association Fall Conference, October 2020.

“Indigenous & Black Representation on the Bench, Inclusion & Diversity,” Indigenous Bar Association Annual Conference, October 2020. 

“New Paradigms for the Justice System: Technology, Diversity and Inclusion,” Department of Justice Canada Conference, September 2020. 

“Putting Speech and Equality in Conversation, not Opposition,” Canadian Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference, May 2020.

“Queer Theory is Dead; Queer Legal Theory Does Not Exist,” Provocations in Queer Legal Studies, Yale University, September 2019. 

“Constitutionality of Polygamy Prohibitions,” Law, Culture & The Humanities, Carleton University, March 2019. 

“Diversity and Clerkships,” Black Law Students’ Association of Canada National Conference, February 2019.

“Addressing Sexual Violence in University Teaching and Accommodation for Survivors,” Always a Zero-Sum Game? Academic Freedom and Anti-Oppression Conference, September 2018.

“Interplay of ss. 7 and 15 in the Resolution of Impending Charter Disputes,” Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 2016.

Julius Alexander Isaac Moot Dedication Award, Black Law Students’ Association of Canada, 2022.

Part-time Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Ottawa, 2021.

Herman N. Finkelstein Memorial Fellowship, Columbia Law School, 2020.

Best Twitter Account, Canadian Law Blog Awards, 2019.

Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia Law School, 2019.

Viscount Bennett Scholarship, Law Society of Alberta, 2018.

Traditional Fulbright Student Award, Fulbright Canada, 2018.

Donald F. Sim, Q.C., Memorial Prize, The Federal Courts, 2015.

Howard Tidswell Memorial Award, University of Calgary, 2012.

Canadian Federation of University Women/Calgary Helen Steeves Memorial Scholarship in Law, University of Calgary, 2011.

Jason Lang Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2011.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2011.

James G. Kidd Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2011.

Degree Institution Year
JSD (Doctor of the Science of Law) Columbia University           Ongoing
LLM (Master of Laws) Columbia University           2019
JD (Juris Doctor)     University of Calgary 2013
B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) University of British Columbia 2010