Jaye Ellis

Associate Professor
Joint appointment with the McGill School of Environment

Old Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 47
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-6625 [Office]
jaye.ellis [at] mcgill.ca (Email)


Focus online video research profile: Jaye Ellis
McGill Teaching Snapshot: Jaye Ellis


Professor Ellis, who holds a joint appointment with the McGill School of Environment, teaches and conducts research in the fields of international environmental law, public international law, international legal theory and international relations.

Her D.C.L. focused on principles of international environmental law and their influence on the development of international regimes for environmental protection.

Jaye Ellis’s current research project focuses on the intersections among law, politics, economics, ethics, and science as these social systems are brought to bear on problems of environmental degradation. One facet of this research addresses the increased importance of transnational law, paying particular attention to the role of non-state actors in transnational space.

Professor Ellis is interested in supervising graduate students working on international legal theory, transnational law and non-state actors, constitutionalisation of international law, science and technology studies, and autopoietic theory.


D.C.L. (McGill University) Thesis: Soft Law as Topos: The Role of Principles of Soft Law in the Development of International Environmental Law 1997-2001

Karl-Ruprechts-Universitat Heidelberg, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship Holder, 1999-2000

LL.M. (University of British Columbia) 1995-97

LL.B. and B.C.L. (McGill University) 1988-92

B.A.(Hons), (University of Calgary) 1984-88


Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Law, 2011-2014

Associate Professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law and School of Environment, 2010 to present.

Assistant Professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law and School of Environment, 2000 to 2010.

Clerk to Justice Morris Fish, Quebec Court of Appeal, 1993-1995

Areas of Interest

International environmental law, public international law, international legal theory, international relations.


Articles in refereed journals

“Unilateral Exercises of Public Authority: Addressing Issues of Fairness in Teck v. Pakootas”, (2012) 25 (2) Leiden Journal of International Law 397-414

“Shades of Grey: Soft Law and the Validity of Public International Law”, (2012) 25 (2) Leiden Journal of International Law 313-34

“General Principles and Comparative Law” European Journal of International Law (2011) 22(4) 949-971

“Fisheries Conservation in an Anarchical System: A Comparison of Rational Choice and Constructivist Perspectives” (2007) 3(2) Journal of International Law and International Relations 1-40

“Redistributing the Burden of Scientific Uncertainty: Implications of the” (2005) Global Environmental Politics 505-26 (co-author: Steve Maguire)
“The Precautionary Principle in International Law: Lessons from Fuller's Internal Morality” (2004) 49(3) McGill Law Journal 779-800 (co-author: Alison FitzGerald)
“The Precautionary Principle and Global Chemical Risk Management: Some Insights from the Case of Persistent Organic Pollutants”, (2003) 41 Greener Management International: The Journal of Corporate Environmental Strategy and Practice, 33-46 (co-author: Steve Maguire)
“International Regimes and the Legitimacy of Rules: A Discourse-Ethical Approach”, (2002) 27(3) Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 273-300
“The Straddling Stocks Agreement and the Precautionary Principle as Interpretive Device and Rule of Law” (2001) 32(4) Ocean Development and International Law 289-311
“The Regime as a Locus of Legitimacy” (1997) 13 International Insights 111

Articles/chapters in books and monographs

“Perspectives on Discourse in International Environmental Law: Expert Knowledge and Challenges to Deliberative Democracy” in Brad Jessup and Kim Rubenstein (eds), Environmental Discourses in International and Public Law (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

“Sustainable Development and Fragmentation in International Society” in Duncan French, ed., Global Justice and Sustainable Development (Netherlands: Brill, 2010) 57

“Sustainable Development as a Legal Principle: A Rhetorical Analysis” in Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Rüdiger Wolfrum and Jana Gogolin, eds., Selected Proceedings of the European Society of International Law, vol. 2 (Oxford: Hart, 2010) 642

 “On the Nature and Meaning of International Legal Obligation: Canada’s Response to Kyoto” in Chios Carmody (ed.), Is Our House in Order?: Canada's Implementation of International Law (Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010) 99

“The Precautionary Principle and Risk Communication” (co-author: Steve Maguire) in Robert L. Heath and H. Dan O’Hair, eds, Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication (New York: Routledge, 2009) 119-37

“Globalisation and International Environmental Law” in Benjamin J. Richardson and Stepan Wood, eds., Environmental Law for Sustainability: A Reader (Portland: Hart, 2006) (co-author: Stepan Wood) 343-80
“Has International Law Outgrown Trail Smelter?” in Rebecca Bratspies and Russell Miller, eds., Transboundary Harms in International Law: Lessons from the Trail Smelter Arbitration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 56-65


“Julio Barboza, The Environment, Risk and Liability in International Law” (2011) 26 Ocean Yearbook 685-9

“Howard S. Schiffman, Marine Conservation Agreements: The Law and Policy of Reservations and Vetoes” (2009) 9(2) Global Environmental Politics 129-31
The Exclusive Economic Zone and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982-2000 (2004) 98 AJIL 395
Gibran van Ert, Using International Law in Canadian Courts (2003) 16(1) Revue québécoise de droit international 261-4
Timothy Swanson & Sam Johnston, Global Environmental Problems and International Environmental Agreements: The Economics of International Institution Building (Edward Elgar, 1999), (2002) 40(3 & 4) Osgoode Hall Law Journal 447-50
Franz Xaver Perrez, Cooperative Sovereignty: From Independence to Interdependence in the Structure of International Environmental Law (2001) 47(1) McGill Law Journal 263-5
Ellen Hey, ed., Developments in International Fisheries Law (2001) 46(2) McGill Law Journal 563
Jon Hutton and Barnabas Dickson (eds.), Endangered Species, Threatened Convention: The Past, Present and Future of CITES, (2001) 30(1) Millennium: Journal of International Studies 172-4
Davor Vidas, ed., Protecting the Polar Marine Environment: Law and Policy for Pollution Prevention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 47(2) 2001 McGill Law Journal 459-61
Matthew Paterson, Understanding Global Environmental Politics: Domination, Accumulation, Resistance (2001) 30(2) Millennium: Journal of International Studies 458-60
Catherine Redgwell, Intergenerational Trusts and Environmental Protection, (2000) 29 Millennium: Journal of International Studies 251

Other papers and publications

Review article: “Overexploitation of a Valuable Resource? New Literature on the Precautionary Principle” (2006) 17(2) European Journal of International Law 445-462
Maguire, S. & Ellis, J., 2002, "Uncertainty, Precaution and Global Interdependence: Implications of the Precautionary Principle for State and Non-state Actors," in Biermann, F., Brohm, R., & Dingwerth, K., eds., Proceedings of the 2001 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change: Global Environmental Change and the Nation State, PIK Report No. 80 (2002), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany, 256-265 (co-author: Steve Maguire)
“The Precautionary Principle: From Paradigm to Rule of Law” (2000) 2(2) International Law Forum / Forum du droit international 127

Conference proceedings

“The Implications of the Precautionary Principle on Procedure in International Law” in The Measure of International Law: Effectiveness, Fairness and Validity, Canadian Council of International Law, 31st Annual Conference (The Hague: Kluwer, 2004) 351-65
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