René Provost

Full Professor

James McGill Professor

3674 Peel Street
Room 202
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-6647 [Office]
rene.provost [at] (Email)

PDF icon Curriculum vitae René Provost (2021) 
Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism

Media appearances:
René Provost awarded Trudeau Fellowship (McGill Reporter, Sep. 2015)
Un peu de justice chez les hors-la-loi (Le Devoir, 23 novembre 2015)

René Provost


Professor René Provost, F.R.S.C., Ad. E., teaches and conducts research in public international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, legal theory and legal anthropology. He is particularly interested in human rights, international criminal law, the law of armed conflict, and the intersection of law and culture.

In September 2015, he was awarded a fellowship by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation for his research project that aims to explore the possibility of convincing armed, non-state groups to apply justice by respecting minimum standards of international humanitarian law in conflict zones. That project resulted in a monograph, Rebel Courts – the Administration of Justice by Armed Insurgents (Oxford University Press, 2021) which received the 2022 ICON-S Book Prize awarded by the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S).

He is also the author of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Cambridge University Press, 2002), the editor of State Responsibility in International Law (Ashgate/Dartmouth, 2002), Mapping the Boundaries of Belonging: Law Between Religious Revival and Post-Multiculturalism (Oxford university Press, 2014), and Culture in the Domains of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2017), as well as co-editor of International Law Chiefly As Applied and Interpreted in Canada (Emond Mongtgomery, 2000, 2006, 2014), Confronting Genocide (Springer Verlag, 2011), and Dialogues on Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (Springer Verlag, 2013). Professor Provost served as Law Clerk to Justice L'Heureux-Dubé of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was the President of the Société québécoise de droit international from 2002 to 2006. Professor Provost was the founding Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism from 2005 to 2010.

Professor Provost is currently the Principal Investigator for the Unreserved Justice Project, an SSHRC-funded collaboration with Indigenous leaders from coast to coast to coast on the emerging practice of Indigenous communities in Canada of establishing their own institutions and practices to administer justice on their territory. Grounded in specific elements of the practices of Indigenous communities, the project braids together norms from Canadian Indigenous legal traditions, constitutional law, comparative law (Bolivia, Colombia, Scandinavia, USA), and international human rights law.

Professor Provost was awarded the Barreau du Québec's Advocatus Emeritus (Ad. E.) distinction in 2017. Furthermore, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in September 2019.

Professor Provost is always interested in supervising graduate work on understandings of international law which grapple with the limits, complexity, and meaning of that legal regime. In this vein, see his 2016 Supervision Snapshot page.


  • D.Phil., University of Oxford, St.Antony's College, 1999
  • LL.M., University of California at Berkerley School of Law (Boalt Hall), 1991
  • École du Barreau, Centre de Montréal, 1989
  • LL.B., Université de Montréal, 1988
  • Baccalauréat général d'enseignement du second degré en économie, Collège Stanislas, 1985


  • Visiting Professor, Escuela de derecho, Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, 2010-2011
  • Director, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, 2005-2010
  • Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2001-2003
  • Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2001-
  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 1995-2001
  • Boulton Fellow, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 1994-1995
  • Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (New York), 1992
  • Adjunct Lecturer in International Law, Lehigh University, Department of International Relations, Pennsylvania, 1991
  • Research Attorney, Human Rights Watch, 1991
  • Law clerk to Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Supreme Court of Canada, 1989-1990
  • Summer and part-time associate, Stikeman Elliott, 1987-1989

Areas of Interest

International public law, international human rights, international humanitarian law, law of armed conflicts, international criminal law, international environmental law.

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