Michael Pal


Michael Pal
Associate Professor (on leave)

BA (Honour’s) (Queen’s)
M.A. (Toronto)
J.D. (Toronto)
LL.M. (Legal Theory) (NYU)
S.J.D (Toronto)

Room: 57 Louis Pasteur St. Room 405
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 7908
Office: 613-562-5124
Work E-mail: Michael.Pal@uOttawa.ca

Michael Pal


Professor Michael Pal researches primarily the law of democracy, comparative constitutional law, and election law. He publishes in law, political science, and public policy. He is currently the Director of the Public Law Group at the Faculty of Common Law. 
He has recently presented his work at Yale Law School, the McGill Faculty of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, and NYU School of Law. He has recent or forthcoming publications in the McGill Law Journal, Election Law Journal (U.S.), Kings Law Journal (U.K.), Supreme Court Law Review, Review of Constitutional Studies, Canadian Public Administration, and a chapter in a forthcoming anthology on the Canadian Constitution at 150. He is currently working on projects related to voter suppression, electoral management bodies, election administration in democratic transitions, and democratic theory.
As Director of the Public Law Group, he oversees the activities of the Group and has recently co-organized conferences on electoral reform, non-resident voting rights, and the Group's Speakers' Series and Works in Progress seminars.  Professor Pal is also a Fellow at the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation in the School of Public Policy and governance at the University of Toronto. 
In 2017 he served as a Commissioner with the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Ontario, whose recommendations to add two new seats and to create the province's first Indigenous-majority riding and second francophone-majority riding were adopted by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
He has degrees in political science from Queen’s and the University of Toronto and in law from the University of Toronto and NYU.  While completing his doctorate, he was a Pierre-Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholar.
He has advised all levels of government on matters relating to election law and constitutional law, as well as election commissions and electoral boundary commissions.  He appeared before the House of Commons and Senate Committees studying the Fair Representation Act. He has published in the media on topics related to his research, including in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and the Hill-Times and appeared on TVO’s The Agenda
He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the South Asian Legal Aid Clinic of Ontario. He previously clerked at the Court of Appeal for Ontario for Justices Moldaver, Blair, Goudge, and Feldman, and worked in a national law firm in Toronto. 
His recent research funding includes a 2016 SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant with Elizabeth F. Judge on big data politics and the implications for voter privacy, a SSHRC Connections Grant with Carissima Mathen for a conference on electoral reform, and a grant from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Province of Ontario for research on the representation of Indigenous Peoples in federal and provincial elections.


Academic Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Third Party Political Participation and Anti-Collusion Rules" (2018) Canadian Public Administration (forthcoming)
  • "The Democratic Resilience of the Canadian Constitution" (with Richard Albert) in Mark Tushnet, Sanford Levinson, and Mark Graber, eds, Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (Oxford University Press, 2018) (forthcoming)
  • "Is the Permanent Campaign the End of the Egalitarian Model of Elections?" in Richard Albert, Paul Daly, and Vanessa MacDonnell, eds, The Canadian Constitution in Transition (University of Toronto Press, 2018) (forthcoming)
  • "Three Narratives About Canadian Election Law" (2017) 16:2 Election Law Journal 255 (U.S.)
  • "Canadian Election Administration on Trial: Robocalls, Opitz, and Disputed Elections in the Courts" (2017) 28:2 King's Law Journal 324 (U.K.)
  • "Constitutional Amendment After the Senate Reference and the Prospects for Electoral Reform" (2016) 76 Supreme Court Law Review 2nd 377
  • "Electoral Management Bodies as a Fourth Branch of Government” (2016) 21:1 Review of Constitutional Studies 87
  • “The Fractured Right to Vote: Democracy, Discretion, and Designing Electoral Districts" (2015) 61:2 McGill Law Journal 1
  • "Fair Representation in the House of Commons?" (2015) Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law" Special Edition 
  • “Breakdowns in the Democratic Process and the Law of Canadian Democracy” (2011) 57:2 McGill Law Journal 299
  • “The Promise and Limits of Citizens’ Assemblies: Deliberation, Institutions and the Law of Democracy” (2012) 38:1 Queen’s Law Journal 261
  • “Democratic Rights and Social Science Evidence” (2014) 32:2 National Journal of Constitutional Law 151
  • “Still Not Equal? Visible Minority Vote Dilution” (2014) 8:1 Canadian Political Science Review 85 (with Sujit Choudhry)
  • “Is Every Ballot Equal? Visible Minority Vote Dilution in Canada” (2007) 13:1 IRPP Choices 1 (with Sujit Choudhry)
  • “The Supreme Court of Canada’s Approach to the Recovery of Ultra Vires Taxes: At the Border of Private and Public Law” (2008) 66:1 University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review 65
  • “The Impact of Regionally-Differentiated Employment Insurance Benefits on Charter-Protected Canadians” in Making EI Work, Keith Banting, ed. (Kingston-Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013) (with Sujit Choudhry)

Research Reports 

  • "Privacy and the Electorate: Big Data and the Personalization of Politics" (with Elizabeth F. Judge), SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Report funded by a 2016 SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant
  • “Moving Toward Voter Equality: Mowat Centre Report on the Proposed Electoral Boundaries for Ontario” (2012) (with Melissa Molson)
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