Sarah Riley Case

Assistant Professor

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 smiles at the camera. She wears an orange sweater. It is a sunny fall day. Photo by Lysanne Larose.

Twitter: @SarahRileyCase


Sarah Riley Case is an Assistant Professor whose research and teaching focus on slavery and the law, Critical Race Theory, Black life, Third World Approaches to International Law, settler colonialism, arts, and governing the natural world.

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.

For the future, Sarah Riley Case is conceptualizing interconnected projects on Black radical traditions of international law and of Canadian constitutional law. In this respect, she is currently drafting a paper that explores Black communist engagements with international law from the 1940s to 1950s.  

Sarah Riley Case collaborates with people working toward racial, regional and ecological 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
  • Executive, Black Canadian Studies Association
  • 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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