Alana Klein

Associate Professor

New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 508
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-2764 [Office]
alana.klein [at] (Email)

Alana Klein

Website: McGill Research Group on Health and Law


Associate Professor Alana Klein teaches and researches in health law, criminal law, and human rights. The position of marginalized groups and individuals in decentralized and privatized systems and the role of accountability requirements in governance and decision-making are primary preoccupations in her research.

Prior to joining the Faculty, she was a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, where she worked on HIV/AIDS and immigration, legal and other barriers to harm-reduction programs for people who use illegal drugs, and law reform to promote the rights of women and girls in the context of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

She has taught at Columbia Law School and Columbia University and has interned with the International Refugee Program at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) and with the Palestinian Ministry of Economy and Trade. In 2002-2003, she was a law clerk to former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour and she was appointed to the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2006.

In April 2020, she received a grant from McGill's "MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding" initiative for her "Le droit en période de pandémie : pouvoirs et responsabilité en situation d’urgence" research project (read the article in Focus online).


  • JSD (Columbia) 2011
  • LLM (Columbia) 2005
  • BCL, LLB (McGill) 2002
  • BA (Concordia) 1997


  • Associate professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2017-)
  • Assistant professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2008-2017)
  • Boulton Fellow, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2007-2008)
  • Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (2006-2007)
  • Associate in Law, Columbia Law School (2003-2005)
  • Law clerk to Hon. Louise Arbour, Supreme Court of Canada (2002-2003)
  • Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada

Areas of Interest

Canadian and comparative constitutional law, human rights law, international law, criminal law


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Criminal Law and the Counter-Hegemonic Potential of Harm Reduction” (2015) 38:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 2-27. [Link to article]

“The Arbitrariness in Arbitrariness (and Overbreadth and Gross Disproportionality)” (2013) 63 Supreme Court Law Review 377-402. [Link to article]

“Section 7 of the Charter and the Principled Assignment of Legislative Jurisdiction” (2012) 57 Supreme Court Law Review 59-72, reprinted in Benjamin L. Berger & James Stribopoulos, eds, Unsettled Legacy: Thirty Years of Criminal Justice under the Charter (Toronto: Lexis Nexis, 2012), 93-106. [Link to article]

“So Long as You Have Your Health: Health Care Distribution in Canada and Proceduralist Human Rights” (2012) 30 Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 247-288. [Link to article]

“Criminal Law, Public Health, and Governance of HIV Exposure and Transmission” (2009) 13 International Journal of Human Rights 251-278. [Link to article]

Other Journal Articles

“Gladue in Quebec” (2009) 54 Criminal Law Quarterly 506-528. [Read in PDF]

“Judging as Nudging: New Governance Approaches for the Enforcement of Constitutional Social and Economic Rights” (2008) 39 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 351-422. [Read in PDF]

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

“Social and Economic Rights and the Legal Imagination” in Fannie Lafontaine & François Larocque, eds, Doing Peace the Rights Way: Essays in International Law and Relations in Honour of Louise Arbour (Antwerp: Intersentia, 2019) 65-84. [Link to chapter] [Link to publisher website]

“The Renewal of the Judicial Function in the Protection of Health: Looking Across the Boundaries of Constitutional, Criminal and Private Law” in Catherine Régis, Lara Khoury, and Robert P. Kouri, eds, Health Law at the Frontier - Les rencontres en droit de la santé, vol. 2 (Montreal: Yvon Blais, 2018) 199-244 (with Lara Khoury). [Link to publisher website]

“Chapter 1: Jurisdiction in Canadian Health Law” in Joanna Erdman, Vanessa Gruben and Erin Nelson, eds, Canadian Health Law and Policy, 5th ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2017) 29-50. [Link to publisher website]

“Health and Criminal Law in Conflict: Can Proportionality Analysis Help?” in Catherine Régis, Lara Khoury & Robert Kouri, eds, Les grands conflits et droit de la santé (Montréal: Éditions Yvon Blais, 2016) 131-149. [Link to publisher website]

“Feminism and the Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure” in Catherine Stanton & Hannah Quirk, eds, Criminalising Contagion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) 175-200. [Link to chapter] [Link to publisher website]

Other Book Chapters

“What Jurisdiction for Harm Reduction: Cannabis Policy Reform under Canadian Federalism”, in Andrew Potter and Daniel Weinstock, eds, The Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) 132-150. [Link to publisher website]

“Participation and Accountability: New Avenues for Human Rights Engagement with the Distribution of Health Resources in Canada” in Martha Jackman & Bruce Porter, eds, Advancing Social Rights in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014) 309-341. [Read in PDF] [Link to publisher website]

“People living with HIV” in Frédéric Mégret, Florian Hoffmann et al, eds, Dignity: A Special Focus on Vulnerable Groups (Swiss Initiative to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR, 2009) (with Cathi Albertyn). [Read in PDF]

Conference Proceedings

“Of Justice and its Scales: Looking Back on (Almost) Forty Years of Rod Macdonald’s Scholarship on Access to Justice” (2014) 59:3 McGill Law Journal 761-771. [Read in PDF]


“Book Review: Emma Cunliffe, Murder, Medicine, and Motherhood” (2013) 28:3 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 438-440. [Link to review]

Policy Brief

“Paths of least resistance and path dependency: jurisdiction and the continued criminalization of legalized cannabis in Canada” L’Idée Fédérale (May 2018). [Read in PDF]

“Don’t Bogart that Evidence-Based Policy: Legalization of Marijuana in Canada” McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy’s HappenStance (2016). [Read in PDF]

Policy Reports

“Sticking Points: Barriers to Access to Needle and Syringe Programs in Canada” (2007) Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. [Read in PDF] [Version en français]

“HIV/AIDS and Immigration: Final Report” (2001) Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. [Read in PDF]

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