Sarah Riley Case

Boulton Fellow

New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 517
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-6643 [Office]
sarah.rileycase [at] (Email)

Sarah Riley Case [a young Black woman smiling at the camera. Her wavy hair is brown; she wears glasses, a necklace with a bar pendant, and a navy blue top]

Twitter: @SarahRileyCase


Sarah Riley Case is a Boulton Junior Fellow and an incoming Assistant Professor (August 2022) whose research and teaching focus on slavery and the law, Critical Race Theory, Black life, ‘Third World’ approaches to international law, settler colonialism, and governing the natural world. In 2021-2022, she is serving as a Liaison to the Assistant Dean (Inclusion - Black and Indigenous Flourishing).

Before joining McGill, she was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy. She served as a Special Advisor to the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity. She taught as well at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Sarah Riley Case’s work crosses over law, history, conceptions of justice, and the arts. Her recent publications include ‘Homelands of Mary Ann Shadd’, in which she explores the Black radical tradition, historical erasure, and the ‘politics of recognition’ in international law’s narratives (in Immi Tallgren, ed., Portraits of International Law New Names and Forgotten Faces?). Another recent publication, ‘Thoughts of Liberation’ in Canadian Art (with Nataleah Hunter-Young), puts ten Black women poets, scholars, artists, and activists in conversation. Her book chapter, ‘Redressing Historical Responsibility for the Precarities of Climate Change in the Present’ (with Julia Dehm) undertakes an immanent critique of international law to argue that climate change results from histories of dispossession and, as such, full repair for this problem demands radical change through reparations for states in the Global South, people living in poverty, and Black and Indigenous and other marginalized peoples in settler colonial states.

She is currently writing a manuscript on how peoples of Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America sought to address the novel problem of climate change during the ‘decolonization era’ by matching a representation of nature (as a commons) with their aspirations to refashion international law through solidarity. She explores the ways in which law developed, focusing on its progress narratives and its reproduction of subjugation.

Sarah Riley Case collaborates with people working toward racial and regional justice in the UN system, academic communities, and legal clinics. She presently serves on the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) Task Force on Legal Aid Ontario Modernization, the executive of the Black Canadian Studies Association, and the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment. She has received awards and honours from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, SSHRC, Transnational Environmental Law journal, and the American Society of International Law, among others.


  • SJD, University of Toronto, expected 2022
  • LLM, McGill University Faculty of Law, 2013
  • Member of the Ontario Bar, 2008
  • JD, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2007
  • BA, McGill University and Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2003


  • Boulton Fellow, McGill University, Faculty of Law, 2021-2022
  • Task Force on Legal Aid Ontario Modernization, Black Legal Action Centre, 2021
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2020-2021
  • Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2014-2019
  • Fulbright Visiting Researcher, Harvard Law School, 2019-2021
  • Special Advisor, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, 2019-2020
  • Visiting Academic, Melbourne Law School, 2019
  • Counsel, Law Commission of Ontario, 2013-2016
  • Project Officer and Legal Specialist, International Development Law Organization, 2011-2013
  • Equity Advisory Group, Law Society of Ontario, 2009-2011
  • Board of Governors, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, 2009-2011
  • Associate Lawyer, Koskie Minsky LLP, 2008-2010
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, 2007-2008

Areas of Interest

Colonialisms, legal history, international and domestic law formations, Black Studies, Critical Race Theory, queer theory, Third World Approaches to International Law, Indigenous legal orders, radicalism and law reform, the natural world, arts.

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