Jeffrey Kennedy

Assistant Professor

New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 507
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-399-9464 [Office]
jeffrey.kennedy [at] (Email)

Jeffrey Kennedy

Twitter: @jeffreyckennedy 


Jeff Kennedy is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law.   

His core research interests are in criminal law and theory, with a particular focus on the public and political dimensions of criminal justice. His work frequently examines the implications of democratic ideals for various issues, including judicial ethics, cruel and unusual punishment, victim participation, and the nature of public wrongs. In a separate vein, his work has involved both theoretical and empirical research at the intersections of democratic theory, legal education, and university governance.  

Professor Kennedy has published his work in leading peer-reviewed journals in multiple fields, including Legal Theory, Criminal Law and Philosophy, and Studies in Higher Education. His manuscript, Deliberative Sentencing: Democracy, Justification, and the Politics of Responding to Crimes, is currently under contract with Hart Publishing. He has been invited to present his research internationally, and has received recognition for his work, including with the Association of Law Teachers’ Stan Marsh Prize (2021).  

His work on democracy in educational contexts—often in collaboration with academics, civil society, and practitioners—has been supported by a number of grants for student experience and research impact, has been shortlisted for the Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award (2016), and has helped shape real-world democratic reforms in the university context. In the criminal justice context, he has been involved in and led a variety of projects around incarceration in Canada and the UK, including community work with currently and formerly incarcerated persons.  

In several jurisdictions, he has taught Criminal Law, Sentencing, Prison Law, Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Evidence. His teaching has been recognized through a variety of honours, including a President and Principal’s Prize and Education Excellence Award (QMUL, 2021), as well as being named as one of five national finalists for Oxford University Press’ Law Teacher of the Year (UK, 2022). He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Professor Kennedy completed his doctorate at McGill University’s Faculty of Law after earning earlier degrees from McGill, University of Leicester, and Queen’s University. Prior to joining McGill, he was a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at Queen Mary, University of London (2018-2023), where he also served as a Director of its Criminal Justice Centre. 

Selected Publications 


  • Deliberative Sentencing (Hart Publishing, Under Contract) 

Peer Reviewed Articles 

  • “Deliberative Experience and the Civic Aspirations of Legal Education,” International Journal of Law in Context (forthcoming) 

  • “Mini-Publics, Student Participation, and Universities’ Deliberative Capacity” (2023) with Simon Pek, 48 Studies in Higher Education 63 (Open Access)  

  • “Crimes as Public Wrongs” (2021) 27 Legal Theory 253 

  • “Justice as Justifiability: Mandatory Minimums, Section 12, and Deliberative Democracy” (2020) UBC Law Review 351 (Open Access) 

  • “The Citizen Victim: Reconciling the Public and Private in Criminal Sentencing” (2019) 13 Criminal Law and Philosophy 83 

  • “Democracy Transformed: Perceived Legitimacy of the Institutional Shift from Election to Random Selection of Representatives,” with Simon Pek and Adam Cronkright (2018) 14(1) Journal of Public Deliberation 3 (Open Access) 

Reviews and Encounters 

  • “Liberal Democratic Education: A Paradigm in Crisis Edited by Julian Culp, Johannes Drerup, Isolde de Groot, Anders Schinkel and Douglas Yacek, Paderborn: Brill mentis, 2022. 182 pp. ISBN: 978-3-95743-254-5 4 (paperback)” (FirstView, 2023) International Journal of Law in Context 1. 

Book Chapters and Contributions to Collections 

  • “England and Wales” in Pedro Caeiro et al (eds), Elgar Encyclopedia of Crime and Criminal Justice (Edward Elgar: forthcoming, 2024) 

Media and Commentary 

  • “Universities Can Foster more Deliberative Democracy — Starting by Empowering Students” with Simon Pek, The Conversation (17 October 2022) 

  • “Open Government, Corruption, and Democratic Lotteries in Education” with Simon Pek, ETICO (28 February 2022) 

  • “Democratic Legacies in the Post-Pandemic University: Reflections on a Students’ Jury” with Karoline Leitgeb, The Post-Pandemic University Magazine (17 May 2021) 

  • “Universities Should Be Spaces for Democratic Innovation” with Simon Pek and Graham Smith, Times Higher Education (26 April 2020) 

  • “What weight to give victims' sentencing recommendations?” with Marie Manikis, The Montreal Gazette (24 April 2018) 


  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2023-present 

  • Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, 2023 

  • Lecturer and Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Centre, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, 2018-2023 

  • Coordinator, Communitas, Montreal, 2017-2018 

  • Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2017 


  • Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.), Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2020                                                 

  • Master of Laws (LL.M.), Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2014                                                                                    

  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), School of Law, University of Leicester, 2012 

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Honours), Queen’s University, 2010 

Areas of Interest 

Criminal Law and Theory, Sentencing, Prison Law, Democratic Theory and Practice, Legal Education, University Governance 


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