Donald M. McRae


Donald M. McRae
Emeritus professor

LL.B. (Otago)
LL.M. (Otago)
Dipl.Int.Law (Cant.)

Work E-mail:

Donald M. McRae


Professor McRae joined the Faculty of Law in 1987 where he served as Dean of the Common Law Section until 1994.  Currently, he teaches contracts,  international law, international trade law, and law of the sea.  He is also an adjunct professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.  He was formerly Professor and Associate Dean at the University of British Columbia.

Professor McRae was elected to the International Law Commission in 2006.  He was awarded the Canadian Council on International Law’s John E. Read Medal in 2003 and made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002.


Professional Experience

  • Appeared as counsel in Magistrates and Supreme Courts, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1966-68
  • Consultant to the Joint Committee of the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of B.C. in the preparation of a pilot programme for the certification of specialists in the legal profession in British Columbia, 1976-77
  • Consultant to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, 1979
  • Adviser to the Department of External Affairs, Government of Canada, on various international legal issues, 1979-92
  • Counsellor, International Law, Department of External Affairs, 1983-86
  • Counsel for Canada in Fisheries Arbitration (Canada/France), 1985-86
  • Special Observer to the Canadian Delegation to the 41st Session of the General Assembly, 1986
  • Consultant to United Nations Under Secretary for Law of the Sea on High Seas Fisheries Issues (1991), and on State Practice on the Law of the Sea since 1982, (1992)
  • Special Investigator for Canadian Human Rights Commission on complaints brought by Innu Nation against the Government of Canada, 1992-93, 2001-2002
  • Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, 1998-
  • Chief Negotiator for Canada for the Pacific Salmon Treaty, 1998-99
  • Counsel to the Government of New Zealand on international trade law issues including cases before the WTO, 1998-
  • Special Legal Adviser to North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation, 2002-
  • Co-Chair Joint Task Group established by the Government of Canada and the
  • Government of British Columbia on Post-Treaty Fisheries, 2003-2004

Maritime Boundary Experience

  • Consultant to the Government of British Columbia on the law of the sea (1973) and west coast maritime boundaries (1977-82)
  • Senior Legal Adviser to the Agent for Canada in the Gulf of Maine maritime boundary case (Canada/United States), 1983-84
  • Consultant to International Centre for Ocean Development, Government of Kiribati, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Government of Western Samoa, and the Government of Namibia on maritime delimitation, 1987-88
  • Counsel for Canada in Canada-France Arbitration over St. Pierre and Miquelon Maritime Boundary, l991-92
  • Adviser to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador on maritime boundary matters, 1996- 2000
  • Agent and Counsel for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Newfoundland and Labrador-Nova Scotia Maritime Boundary Dispute and Arbitration 2000-2002
  • Adviser to the Government of New Zealand on maritime boundary issues 2000-2005
  • Counsel to Republic of Suriname before arbitral tribunal in Guyana v. Suriname 2006

Trade and Investment Law Experience

  • Member of Chapter l8 Roster of Panelists Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, 1993-
  • Member of Chapter 19 Roster of Panelists, NAFTA 1994-
  • Chair, Dispute-Settlement Panel on Salmon and Herring (first Panel set up under Chapter 18 of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement) 1989
  • Chair, Dispute Settlem ent Panel set up under U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, 1990-91
  • Member, Dispute Settlement Panel set up under Chapter 18, Canada-United States Free Trade    Agreement (Non-Mortgage Interest), 1992
  • Member, Dispute Settlement Panel set up under Chapter l9, Canada-United States Free Trade     Agreement (Softwood Lumber Injury) 1993
  • Member of Indicative List of Panelists under WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, 1996-
  • Member, Dispute Settlement Panel set up under Chapter 20, North American Free Trade Agreement (Supply Management) 1996
  • Adviser to the Government of New Zealand on international trade law matters, 1997-

Counsel to New Zealand Government in the following WTO cases:

  • EC-Measures Affecting Butter Products;
  • Canada-Measures Affecting the Importation of Milk and the Exportation of Dairy Products
  • United States-Safeguard Measures on Imports of Fresh, Chilled and Frozen Lamb Meat from New Zealand and Australia
  • United States-Safeguard Measures on Steel and Steel Products
  • Australia-Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples (current)
  • Counsel to Canadian Government in NAFTA Chapter 11 case: Pope & Talbot Inc. and the Government of Canada
  • Member WTO Dispute Settlement Panel United States-Rules of Origin
  • Adviser to Government of Morocco on FTA negotiations with the United States, 2003-2004
  • Member WTO Panel on EC-Measures Affecting Trade in Commercial Vessels 2004-2005
  • Member WTO Panel on Brazil-Retreaded Tyres 2006- 2007
  • Member WTO Panel on US-Tyres from China 2010-
  • Adviser to Government of Morocco on other FTA negotiations 2008-2009
  • Member NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunal Cargill v. Mexico, 2006- 2009 (Nominated by Respondent)
  • President ICSID tribunal, European Cement v. Turkey, 2007- 2009 (Appointed by ICSID)
  • Member ICSID tribunal, Trans-Global v. Jordan, 2008-2009 (Nominated by Claimant)
  • Member ICSID tribunal Bosh v. Ukraine, 2009- (Nominated by Respondent)
  • Member NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunal Bilcon v. Canada, 2009- (Nominated by Respondent)
  • Co-Chair ILC Study Group on MFN, 2009-



  • "Revocation of Unilateral Contracts" 1 Otago Law Review 149-155 (1966)
  • "Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1966" 2 New Zealand Universities Law Review 351-354 (1967)
  • "Fisheries (Agreement with Japan) Act 1967", "Fisheries Amendment Act 1967" 3 New Zealand Universities Law Review 98-102 (1968)
  • "Warrants of Fitness and the Sale of Motor Vehicles" International Business and Law Symposium (1968) 1-12
  • "Those Warrants of Fitness!" (1968) New Zealand Law Journal 424-426
  • "Co-operation Agreements and the Law Relating to Agreements Concluded by International Organizations" in Zemanek ed., Agreements of International Organizations and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Vienna: Springer-Verlag (1970) 1-55
  • "The U.N. and the Environment" 64 American Journal of International Law (Supp.) 227-230 (1970)
  • "The Law School and the University: A Law Course for Undergraduates" 21 University of Toronto Law Journal 529-542 (1971)
  • "Applications under the Dependants' Relief Act of the Province of Ontario" 19 Chitty's Law Journal 322-340 (1971)
  • "Sovereignty and the International Legal Order" 10 Western Ontario Law Review 56-86 (1971)
  • "Regional Organization Involving South East Asia and the Western Pacific: ECAFE, the Colombo Plan and the Asian Development Bank" 2 Otago Law Review 393-407 (1972)
  • "Contracts to Leave Property by Will and Dependants' Relief" 20 Chitty's Law Journal 298-300 (1972)
  • "Charitable Trusts and Public Benefit" (1973) New Zealand Law Journal 57-59
  • Reports on "Annual Conference of Canadian Council on International Law":
    • 10 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 278-282
    • 11 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 280-284
    • 12 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 267-271
    • 13 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 323-328
    • 14 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 317-322
  • Developments in the Law of Contracts, U.B.C. Centre for Continuing Education (1973) 1-37
  • "Sovereign Immunity - The Role of the Courts: Comment on Le Gouvernment République Démocratique du Congo v. Venne" 11 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 326-334 (1973)
  • "Nuclear Tests Cases" 8 University of British Columbia Law Review 375-382 (1973)
  • “Legal Obligations and International Organizations" 11 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 87-105 (1973)
  • "Non-Western Approaches to Human Rights" Proceedings of the Second Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law (1973) 89-97
  • "Deep Ocean Mining: Negotiation of an International Regime, Some Legal and Political Aspects" 48 Western Miner 17-22 (1975) with B.G. Buzan
  • Developments in the Law of Contracts U.B.C. Centre for Continuing Education (1976) 1-42
  • "Maritime Jurisdiction in the Dixon Entrance: The Alaska Boundary Re-examined" 14 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 175-222 (1976) with C.B. Bourne
  • "Sovereign Immunity - Commercial Activities - Actions in Rem - Applicability to Actions in Personam - Need for Legislation" 45 Canadian Bar Review 747-761 (1976)
  • "Pilot Project for the Certification of Specialists" 35 The Advocate 481-486 (1977)
  • "Delimitation of the Continental Shelf Between the United Kingdom and France: The Channel Arbitration" 15 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 173-197 (1977)
  • "Repudiation of Contracts in Canadian Law" 56 Canadian Bar Review 233-263 (1978)
  • "Competent International Organizations and the Law of the Sea" 3 Marine Policy 106-132 (l979) with J.D. Kingham
  • "The Extension of Options and Equitable Estoppel" 3 Canadian Journal of Business Law 426-435 (1979)
  • "The Legal Effect of Interpretative Declarations" 49 British Yearbook of International Law 155-173 (1978)
  • "Adjudication of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine" 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 292-303 (1979)
  • "Canada and the Law of the Sea: Some Multilateral and Bilateral Issues" 3 Canadian Issues 161-173    (1980)
  • "The Law of the Sea Draft Convention and International Organizations" 3 Marine Policy Reports    No. 2 (1980)
  • "Exculpatory Clauses" in Drafting Commercial Documents, Continuing Education Society of British Columbia (1981) 10p.
  • "Proportionality and the Gulf of Maine Maritime Boundary Dispute" 19 Canadian Yearbook of    International Law 287-302 (1981)
  • "Environmental Jurisdiction in Arctic Waters: The Extent of Article 234" 16 University of British Columbia Law Review 197-228 (1982) with D.J. Goundrey
  • "Arctic Waters and Canadian Sovereignty" 38 International Journal 476-492 (1983)
  • "The Gulf of Maine Case: The Written Proceedings" 21 Canadian Yearbook of International Law    266-283 (1983)
  • "The GATT and Multilateral Treaty-Making: The Tokyo Round" 77 American Journal of    International Law51-83 (1983) with J.C. Thomas
  • "Pollution of the Economic Zone: Non-Vessel Sources, Commentary" in Johnston and Letalik eds.,    The Law of the Sea and Ocean Industry: New Opportunities and Restraints (1984) 304-311
  • "International Organizations In Marine Affairs: The New Oceans Regime, Implementing the    Convention" 8 Marine Policy 83-94 (1984)
  • "The Gulf of Maine Case" 22 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 267-290 (1984) with L.H.    Legault
  • "International Legal Scholarship in Canada", 23 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 477-493 (1985) with    John Claydon
  • "Law-Making through International Institutions" in International Law: Critical Choices for Canada,    1985-2000 (1986) 1-28 with Philippe Kirsch
  • "Management of Arctic Marine Transportation:  A Canadian Perspective", 39 Arctic 349-359 (l986)
  • "Canadian Arctic Waters Policy and International Law:  The Negotiation of Article 234" in Griffiths    ed.Politics of the Northwest Passage 98-114 (1987)
  • "The Single Maritime Boundary:  Problems in Theory and Practice", in Brown and Churchill eds.    The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea:  Impact and Implementation 225-233 (1987)
  • "The International Law Commission: Codification and Progressive Development after Forty Years",  XXVCanadian Yearbook of International Law 355-368 (l987)
  • "The Development of the Most-Favoured-Nation Principle: Treaties of Friendship, Navigation,    Commerce and the GATT", in Irish and Carasco eds The Legal Framework of Canada-United    States Trade, 225-247 (1987), with J.C. Thomas
  • "Recourse to the GATT for Resolving International Trade Disputes" in Saunders ed., Trading    Canada's Natural Resources 168-188 (1987)
  • Understanding the Free Trade Agreement, edited with Debra Steger (l988)
  • "Approaches to the Resolution of Atlantic and Pacific Ocean Problems", 16 Ecology Law Quarterly    227-244 (l989)
  • Canadian Oceans Policy, National Strategies and the New Law of the Sea (l989) 268 pp., edited with  Gordon Munro
  • "Canada and the Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries", in McRae-Munro eds, Canadian Oceans    Policyl45-l64 (l989)
  • "Coastal State 'Rights' within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone", in Neher, Arnason and    Mollett ed.Rights Based Fishing 97-lll (l989), with Gordon Munro
  • "The Implications of Europe l992:  A Canadian Perspective", with Rita Theil, in 33 German    Yearbook of International Law, l66-l83 (l990)
  • "State Practice in Relation to Fisheries", in Law of the Sea: Evolving National Policies, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, l990, pp. 283-287
  • "La frontiΠre maritime unique:problΠmes théoriques et problΠmes pratiques", l Rev. Jur. Afr. 3l-44    (l99l)
  • Report on the Regime for High Seas Fisheries:  Status and Prospects prepared for the United Nations Office for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, May l99l (40 pp), subsequently issued as U.N. Document.
  • Report on the Complaints of the Innu of Labrador to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, l8 August l993 (72 pp).
  • "The Gulf of Maine Case (1984)" "Delimitation Problems in Canada (Juan de Fuca, Dixon    Entrance)" "Special Problems Relating to Fisheries in the EEZ:  Canadian Perspective" and "The    Pacific Salmon & Herring Case (1989)", Pharand & Leanza eds. - The Continental Shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone(1993) 119-127, 159-169, 309-317, 375-378.
  • Law, Policy and International Justice: Essays in Honour of Maxwell Cohen, edited with William   Kaplan (1993).
  • "International Dispute Settlement under the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement", in Kaplan & McRae eds. Law, Policy and International Justice:  Essays in Honour of Maxwell Cohen, (1993)    186-204.
  • "Arctic Sovereignty: Loss by Dereliction?" 22 Northern Perspectives 4-9 (1994-95)
  • "Justice for All? Dispute Settlement under NAFTA" in Hodges ed, The Impact of NAFTA:    Economies in Transition (1995) (Proceedings of a Symposium held at the London School of     Economics and Political Science, 28 September 1994) 9-27.
  • “The Globalism-Regionalism Debate and International Trade” Proceedings of the Canadian Council on International Law, 1995, pp. 73-79, reprinted in Le Bouthillier, McRae and Pharand, eds,  Selected Papers in International Law: Contribution of the Canadian Council on International Law (1999).
  • “From Sovereignty to Jurisdiction: The Implications for States of the WTO,”in Buchanan ed. WTO and Asia-Pacific 1996, 37-58.
  • “The Emerging Appellate Jurisdiction in International Trade Law” Proceedings of the Canadian Council on International Law, 1996, 23-36.
  • “The Contribution of International Trade Law to the Development of International Law” Recueil des CoursVol. 260, 103-237 (1996).
  • “Electronic Technologies and Customary International Law”, Proceedings of the 1997 Hague Joint Conference of the American Society of International Law and the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Internationaal Recht “Contemporary International Law Issues: New Forms, New Applications” 326-329 (1997).
  • “La Délimitation des Espaces Maritimes” 26 Annuaire de Droit Maritime et Océanique 259-276 (1998).
  • “The Emerging Appellate Jurisdiction in International Trade Law” in Cameron and Campbell eds Dispute Resolution in the WTO (1998) 98-110.
  • Compendium of the First 25 Years of the Canadian Council on International Law (1998) edited with Donat Pharand and Yves LeBouthillier.
  • “Crafting Mechanisms for the Settlement of International Trade Disputes: WTO an NAFTA as Models” in Schoenbaum, Nakagawa and Reif eds, Trilateral Perspectives on International Legal Issues: From Theory Into Practice, 331-346 (1998).
  • “Trade and the Environment: Development of WTO Law” 9 Otago Law Review 221-238 (1998)
  • “Geography, Biology and Politics: The Complexities of the Pacific Salmon Dispute” in Canada-U.S. Border Issues, Proceedings of the Reddin Symposium (1999), 10-19.
  • “The WTO in International Law: Tradition Continued or New Frontier? 3 J. Int’l Econ. L 27-41 (2000).
  • “GATT Article XX and the WTO Appellate Body” in Bronckers and Quick eds New Directions in International Economic Law: Essays in Honour of John H. Jackson (2000), 219-236.
  • “The Negotiation of the 1999 Pacific Salmon Agreement” 27 Canada-United States L.J. 267-278 (2001).
  • Report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission on the Treatment of the Innu of Labrador by the Government of Canada (26 March 2002) with Professor Constance Backhouse
  • “Trade and the Environment: The Issue of Transparency” in Markell and Knox, edited, Greening NAFTA: The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, 237-255 (2003).
  • Comment on Claus-Dieter Ehlermann’s Presentation on “The Role and Record of the Dis pute Settlement Panels and the Appellate Body of the WTO” 6 J. Int’l Econ. L. 709-717 (2003)
  • “Trade and the Environment: Competition, Cooperation or Confusion?” 41 Alberta L.R. 745-760 (2003)
  • “What is the Future of WTO Dispute Settlement?” 7 J. Int’l Econ. L. 3-21 (2004)
  • “Treaties and Transition: Towards a Sustainable Fishery on Canada’s Pacific Coast” Report to the Governments of Canada and British Columbia (April 2004) (59pp) (with Peter Pearse)
  • “Fisheries: Fishers, Natives, Sportsmen, States and Provinces” 30 Canada-US L. J. 189-198 (2004)
  • “The Legal Regime of Maritime Boundary Agreements”in Colson and Smith eds International Maritime Boundaries Vol. V, 3281-3304 (2005).
  • “United States Unilateralism: Cause or Symptom? A Brief Response to Professor Zemanek” 8 Austrian Review of International and European Law 75-79 (2003) (published 2005)
  • “The Legal Ordering of International Trade: From GATT to the WTO” in Macdonald and Johnston eds,Towards World Constitutionalism 543-566 (2005)
  • “Developing Countries and ‘The Future of the WTO’” 8 Journal of International Economic Law 603-610 (2005)
  • “Treaty Interpretation and the Development of International Trade Law by the WTO Appellate Body” in Sacerdoti, Yanovich and Bohanes, eds, The WTO at 10: The Contribution of the Dispute Settlement System, 360-371 (2006).
  • Comments on “Trade, Investment and the Environment. Closed Boxes?” Proceedings of the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, 2006, 34-37.
  • “Approaches to the Interpretation of Treaties: The European Court of Human Rights and the WTO Appellate Body” in Liber Amicorum Luzius Wildhaber (2007), 1407-1422.
  • “Arctic Sovereignty.  What is at Stake?”, Canadian Institute of International Affairs, Behind the Headlines, Vol. 64, No. 1, 23 pp (2007).
  • Background paper on "The MFN Clause", with Rohan Perera, ILC Document A/CN.4/L.719, 20 July 2007.
  • "Reconciling the International and the Domestic: The Reasonable Period of Time under Article 21.3 of the DSU" in Janow, Donaldson and Yanovich eds, The WTO: Governance, Dispute Settlement & Developing Countries, 987-1008 (2008) with Robin Hansen, and Panel Discussion 1017-1021.
  • “An Arctic Agenda for Canada and the United States” in From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement, Carleton University, January, 2009.
  • The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law edited with Daniel Bethlehem, Rodney Neufeld and Isabelle Van Damme, 801pp (2009).
  • “The Place of the WTO in the International System” in The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law, Bethlehem, McRae, Neufeld and Van Damme, eds, 54-75 (2009).


  • International Economic Law
  • Public International Law
  • Law of the Sea
  • Advanced International Law


Back to top