Winners of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism 2021


Published: 7Apr2021

The Faculty of Law of McGill University and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 Baxter Family Competition on Federalism, organized by Professor Johanne Poirier.

For the first time, the Competition was open to authors from the disciplines of law or political science. This edition’s overall theme was Federalism, Identity and Public Policy in Challenging Times.

We received numerous and diverse submissions of an exceptional quality from scholars and junior practitioners from 12 countries. Amongst those, the international jury attributed the following prizes:

  1. First prize: Josiah Wamwere-Njoroge (LLB candidate, Riara University, Nairobi, Kenya) – 5,000$
    “The Utility of a Decentralized Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”
    For its well-developed, thoughtful and theoretically grounded argument, and its comparative focus, allowing an analysis relevant to the fundamentals of federalism.
  2. Second prize: Kelty McKerracher (JD/JID candidate, University of Victoria, Canada) – 3,000$
    “Relational Legal Pluralism and Indigenous Legal Orders in Canada”
    For its topical, novel and mature argument, tackling both the theoretical roots and practical possibilities of legal pluralism as a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
  3. Third prize: Benoît Delerue (PhD candidate in political science, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Lyon, France) – 1,000$
    “Le régime fédératif face au triptyque structure-conjoncture-fracture : évolution structurelle des fédérations canadienne et états-unienne sous l’effet des crises conjoncturelles et des fractures politiques”
    For its originality, the depth of its research in primary historical sources, and its comparative approach, providing a rich reflection on the evolution of federations.
  • Honourable mention: Philipp Renninger (PhD candidate in law, University of Lucerne and University of Freiburg, Switzerland and Germany)
    “‘Federalism, Chinese Style’? or: How to Contain COVID-19 Through a Central-Local Chess Game”
    For its novel study of China through the lens of federalism and the metaphor of the chess game, thus engaging with the complexity of the federal phenomenon.

Winners will present their papers at the Baxter Family Symposium on Federalism to be held online on Saturday May 15, from 11:00 to 13:00 EDT (Montreal time; UTC-4). More information will soon be shared on the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism’s website, and its Twitter and Facebook accounts.

To receive the link to the Symposium, please email [at]

We are grateful to the distinguished members of our international jury, who thoroughly considered the submissions for the 2021 Competition:

  • The Right Hon. Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice at the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • The Honourable Clément Gascon, former Justice at the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Prof. Francesco Palermo, President of the International Association of Centres for the Study of Federalism; Head of the Institute for Comparative Federalism at EURAC Research; and Professor of Comparative Public Law at University of Verona’s Faculty of Law (Italy).
  • Prof. Nicola McEwen, Professor of Territorial Politics at University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science; and Co-Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change (United Kingdom).
  • Prof. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta; Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Citizenship and Human Rights; and Vice-President of International Political Science Association (Canada).
  • Prof. Nico Steytler, Professor at the University of the Western Cape’s Faculty of Law; and South African Research Chairs Initiative Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Policy (South Africa).
  • Prof. Jaclyn L. Neo, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law; Director of Centre for Asian Legal Studies; and Co-Chair of International Society for Public Law (ICON-S)’s Singapore Chapter (Singapore).
  • Jan Raeimon Nato, BCL/LLB (2019), assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, and winner of the 2019 Baxter Competition (Canada).
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