Renewed term for Johanne Poirier as Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism

Published: 22 March 2022

The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Johanne Poirier has been reappointed as holder of the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism for a seven-year term, beginning on August 1, 2022.

Professor Poirier (BCL’91, LLB’91) joined McGill University in 2015 as the inaugural holder of the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism. From 2004 to 2015, she taught comparative law, federalism, and European regionalism at the Université libre de Bruxelles. She has been an invited professor at law faculties in Ottawa, Madrid, and Austria, and has participated in a number of expert missions on constitutional design in Spain, Belgium, Tunisia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, and Nepal.

During her first term as Peter MacKell Chair, Professor Poirier spearheaded a plurality of initiatives to further research and debate on federalism. In 2017, to mark the sesquicentennial of the Canadian confederation, she co-taught a seminar in which students were invited to “modernize” the Constitution of Canada. The class culminated in a simulated constitutional assembly held in the Parliament of Canada. Professor Poirier also organizes the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism, an international essay competition and symposium aimed at advancing research and fostering informed debate on federalism by young jurists. Since 2020, she has contributed to studying the repercussions of Covid-19 on federalism around the world, notably by maintaining an online compendium of resources on this topic comprising approximately one thousand scholarly articles, blog entries, podcasts, videos, research projects, and other resources. In 2019, the Law Students’ Association conferred on her its John W. Durnford Award for Teaching Excellence.

Over the coming years, Professor Poirier hopes to study the intersection between feminism and the transformations of institutional architecture in post-conflict societies; the role of judges in overseeing cooperative federalism; and the intergovernmental implications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

“Professor Poirier’s engagement and leading scholarship have fostered constitutional conversations at the Faculty of Law and beyond, especially among young jurists,” said Dean Robert Leckey. “A collegial, dedicated, and inspiring colleague, she has brilliantly embodied the aspirations that led to creating the MacKell Chair.”

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