Craig Forcese


Craig Forcese
Full Professor

B.A. Joint Honours
Anthropology/geography (McGill)
M.A. International Affairs (Carleton)
LL.B. (Ottawa)
LL.M. (Yale)
Of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia

57 Louis Pasteur St., Room 120

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 2524
Office: 613-562-5124

Work E-mail:



Students who wish to make appointments should consult the scheduling service at  Follow the instructions.  Please note, until these steps are completed, the appointment is not logged into the calendar.

Prospective Graduate Students 

I currently supervise LLM and doctoral students working in the area of Canadian and comparative national security law.

I occasionally supervise graduate work in areas of public and international law that dovetail with my current research interest; that is, issues relating to democratic accountability and also the international legal issues raised by national security questions.  Because I receive a large number of quite generic expressions of interest and prefer to devote time to serious candidates, graduate students are advised to first apply to the program prior to contacting me about prospective supervision. 


B.A. Joint Honours, anthropology/geography (McGill), M.A. International Affairs (Carleton), LL.B. (Ottawa), LL.M. (Yale), of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia, Full Professor.


Craig Forcese is a full professor at the Faculty of Law (Common Law Section), University of Ottawa.

He is also a Senior Associate at the Global Justice Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and sits on the executive on the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).

Craig is currently the president of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and is a past president of the Canadian Council on International Law.

At uOttawa, Craig teaches public international law, national security law, administrative law and constitutional law. He also co-teaches advanced international law and relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University for students in the joint JD/MA program.

In 2016, Craig was named jointly with Professor Kent Roach as among the “Top 25 most Influential in the justice system and legal profession” by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. In response to their work on national security law, Craig and Kent also received in 2016 the Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize (for False Security), the Reg Robson Award (given annually by the BC Civil Liberties Association “to honour a community member who has demonstrated a substantial and long-lasting contribution to the cause of civil liberties in B.C. and Canada”) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association Award for Excellence in Public Engagement (“for courage and commitment to human rights, human dignity and freedom”).

In 2014, Craig received the APUO University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Teaching, his university’s highest teaching award, and also a University of Ottawa Excellence in Education Award.

Craig was vice dean in the Common Law Section 2011-2014. Prior to joining the law school faculty, he practiced law with the Washington D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP for two years, specializing in international trade and commercial law. He has a B.A. from McGill, an M.A. from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, an LL.B. (summa cum laude) from University of Ottawa and an LL.M. from Yale University.

He is a member in good standing of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia.

Much of Craig’s present research and writing relates to international law, national security, human rights and democratic accountability.

National Security Law

Craig is the co-author with Kent Roach of False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-terrorism (Irwin Law, 2015), an assessment of Canadian anti-terror law and policy.  He is also the author of National Security Law: Canadian Practice in International Perspective (Irwin Law, 2008), a treatise on national security law.

He is co-editor with François Crépeau of Terrorism, Law and Democracy: 10 Years after 9/11 (Montreal: Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, 2012) and with Nicole LaViolette of The Human Rights of Anti-terrorism (Irwin Law, 2008), a collection of papers discussing the Ottawa Principles on Anti-terrorism and Human Rights.  

Craig has also written a number of articles on national security law focusing on matters such as anti-terror criminal law, privacy and national security, secrecy and national security, intelligence gathering and international law, information sharing and intelligence, citizenship revocation, terrorist listing, immigration law and anti-terrorism and military force and anti-terrorism. 

He has appeared before a number of parliamentary committees and participated in litigation related to national security.  He has also sought to convey his scholarship to a broader public in the form of magazine essays and opeds in leading publications.

Public International Law

Craig is co-author and co-editor, with John Currie, Joanna Harrington and Valerie Oostervald, of International Law: Doctrine, Practice and Theory (Irwin Law, 2d Ed 2014), a hybrid introductory textbook/casebook in public international law.   (For regular updates of this reference, see Public International Law Interactive.)

He has published law review articles on, among other things, state immunity, extraterritorial law and the regulation of transnational corporations, international trade law, diplomatic protection of aliens and international law and national security matters, including intelligence collection and use of force.

From 2010-2012, Craig was the president of the Canadian Council on International Law, Canada's chief non-profit organization devoted to the study and promotion of international law. 

As of 2015, Craig is working on a manuscript tracing the impact of the Caroline incident along the Canada-US border in the 1830s on the evolution of the modern doctrine of self-defence in public international law.  The book is scheduled for publication 2017.

Democratic Accountability

Craig is the co-author, with Aaron Freeman, of the The Laws of Government: The Legal Foundations of Canadian Democracy (Irwin Law, 1st Ed, 2005; 2d Ed 2010), a treatise on the legal superstructure of Canadian democratic governance.  He is also co-managing editor of Public Law (Emond Montgomery, 3d Ed 2015), a casebook on public law and legislation in Canada.

In September 2008, Craig was retained as the director of research for the policy phase of the Oliphant Commission (Commission of Inquiry into Certain Allegations Respecting Business and Financial Dealings with Karheinz Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney). 

Sports Law

Craig has a developing interest in sports law and issues of law and urban safety and design related to cycling.  He is the co-author with Nicole LaViolette of Every Cyclists Guide to Canadian Law (Irwin Law, 2014).

Business and Human Rights

While Craig is no longer active in the area, past academic and public policy work with groups such as Rights & Democracy and Amnesty International has focused on issues of business and international human rights, especially in conflict zones.

In 2001, while completing graduate work at Yale, Craig served as research director for the Canadian Democracy and Corporate Accountability Commission, co-chaired by the Honourable Ed Broadbent and Mr. Avie Bennett.  In 2006, he served as an Advisory Committee member for the Government of Canada's Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Extractive Sector. 

Canadian Democracy and Corporate Accountability Commission

The Canadian Democracy and Corporation Accountability Commission acquired the shorthand the Broadbent-Bennett Commission, named after two of its commissioners, Ed Broadbent and Avie Bennett.  The Commission was a private, foundation-funded study of corporate social responsibility in Canada that completed its work in 2002 after hearings held across the country.  The Commission's website has expired, but the key documents produced by the Commission are available via the links below:

Last updated: Dec 2016

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