Vice-Dean, English Program and Full Professor
Room: 57 Louis Pasteur St., Room 119
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 3282
Work E-mail: carissima.mathen@uOttawa.ca
Professor Mathen joined the Faculty in 2011, currently serves as Vice-Dean (Academic) and is Full Professor of Law. 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.In 2010 (with Kim Brooks) she published Women, Law and Equality: A Discussion Guide (Irwin). In 2018, the Law Faculty recognized her work with the Award for Excellence in Legal Research.
In recent years, Professor Mathen has developed a keen interest in the reference function of Canadian courts. Her forthcoming book, Courts without Cases: The Law and Politics of Advisory Opinions will be released by Hart Publishing (UK) in April 2019.
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, CBC Sunday Scrum, The Agenda, and BBC The World. She has published numerous op eds and is regularly cited in national print and online media. In 2016, she received the Faculty's Award for Excellence in Media Relations. In 2018, the University of Ottawa honoured her long-standing commitment to public discourse with the university-wide Media Relations Award (Commentary).
In 2018, Professor Mathen was awarded the Law Society Medal, one of the highest honours bestowed by the Ontario bar.
- Courts without Cases: The Law and Politics of Advisory Opinions (in press, Hart Publishing)
- The Nadon Chronicles (with Michael Plaxton) (working title, forthcoming, UBC Press)
- "The Reference Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Canada" in Paul Daly, ed., Apex Courts and the Common Law (in press, UTP)
- “Access to Charter Justice”, Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution
- “A Recent History of Government Responses to Constitutional Litigation” (2016) 25:3 Constitutional Forum 101-108
- “Legal Education, TWU and the Looking Glass”, (2016) 75 The Supreme Court Law Review 223-245 (with Michael Plaxton)
- Book Review: “Nothing to Lose but Our Chains” – Louis Seidman, Constitutional Disobedience” (2016) 52 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 375-386
- “The Federal Principle” in E.MacFarlane, ed, Constitutional Amendment in Canada (UTP, 2016) 65-84
- "The Shadow of Absurdity and the Challenge of Easy Cases: Looking Back on the Supreme Court Act Reference" (2015) 71 The Supreme Court Law Review 161-189
- "Crowdsourcing Sexual Objectification" (2014) Laws 3, no. 3: 529-552
- "The Upside of Dissent in Equality Jurisprudence" (2013) 63 The 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
- “Choices and Controversy: Judicial Appointments in Canada” (2008) 58 U.N.B.L.J. 52-72
- Comparative Civil Liberties CML4101B
- Criminal Law and Procedure CML 1203F