Joshua Sealy-Harrington
Available in: English Français
Joshua’s teaching, research, and practice centre on marginalized communities, particularly racial, gender, and sexual minorities. In academia, he theorizes the complex relationships amongst law and identity, while in practice he explores the intersection of these relationships with public, constitutional, and criminal law. Joshua is passionate about translating the experience of minority groups into tangible legal claims and has litigation experience before all levels of court, including as lead counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Joshua is an Assistant Professor at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, where he is the Faculty Advisor to the Black Law Students’ Association and teaches about legal theory and social change. He is also a doctoral student at Columbia Law School, where his research explores the promise and limitations of “identity” in legal discourse. His academic work infuses his legal practice, which marries complex legal theory with practical advocacy. In 2019, he received a Canadian Law Blog Award for his online advocacy on behalf of race, gender, and sexual minorities. And in 2021, he received a Part-time Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law where he taught “Race, Racism and the Law”.

Joshua has completed three judicial clerkships, two at the Supreme Court of Canada (for Justice Clément Gascon) and one at the Federal Court (for Justice Donald J. Rennie, now of the Federal Court of Appeal). He also worked for two years as a litigator in commercial law, intellectual property law, and constitutional law at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. His core expertise relates to public, constitutional, and criminal law. And his practice centres on appellate advocacy, including consulting on all aspects of advocacy before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Joshua is also an avid writer and presenter. He has authored several peer-reviewed publications as well as articles for The Globe and Mail, Newsweek, and The Walrus. His scholarship has been cited by the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court of Canada. Further, Joshua is a frequent media commentator, whose analysis has been featured on CBC News and CTV News. And he often presents to government, academic, and private institutions on critical race theory and racial justice, including the Department of Justice, the National Judicial Institute, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, and The Advocates’ Society. He is most passionate, though, about speaking with equity-seeking groups, including the Black Law Students Association of Canada, the Indigenous Bar Association, and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Joshua is functionally bilingual, and works in both English and French. He continues to study and improve his French.

Law Societies

  • Ontario


  • J.S.D. (Columbia University - ongoing)
  • LL.M. (Columbia University - 2019)
  • J.D. (University of Calgary - 2013)
  • B.Sc. Mathematics (University of British Columbia - 2010)
  • Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights – House of Commons (JUST),Impact of COVID-19 on the Judicial System, April 29, 2021

  • Presentation: “New Paradigms for the Justice System: Technology, Diversity and Inclusion”, with co-panelists Commissioner Ena Chadha and Professor Karen Eltis

  • Presentation: “Critical Race Theory, Power, and Neutrality” as a guest lecture to the first year class at the University of Calgary in their “Foundations” course

  • “Twelve Angry (White) Men: The Constitutionality of the Statement of Principles” (2020) 51:1 Ottawa Law Review 195

  • Presentation: Juxtaposing Social Identities: Gender, Race, and Sexuality (Sexuality and the Law; Osgoode Hall Law School; Mar 2020)

  • Presentation: Critical Race Theory and Diversities in Academia (Diversity Speaker Series; Mitacs Canada; Mar 2020)

  • Presentation: Critical Race Feminism (Feminist Legal Theory; University of Calgary; Feb 2020)

  • Presentation: Queer Theory is Dead; Queer Legal Theory Does Not Exist (Provocations in Queer Legal Studies; Yale; September 2019)

  • Presentation: Diversity in Law School and Legal Practice (Equity and Respect Committee Speaker Series; University of Alberta; Mar 2019)

  • Presentation: Constitutionality of Polygamy Prohibitions (Law, Culture & The Humanities; Carleton; March 2019)

  • Presentation: Diversity and Clerkships (Black Law Students’ Association of Canada National Conference; Ottawa; Feb 2019)

  • Presentation: Addressing Sexual Violence in University Teaching and Accommodation for Survivors (Always a Zero-Sum Game? Academic Freedom and Anti-Oppression; Carleton; Sept 2018)

  • “Colour as a Discrete Ground of Discrimination” (2018) 7:1 Canadian Journal of Human Rights 1 (co-authored with Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton)

  • Presentation: Interplay of ss. 7 and 15 in the Resolution of Impending Charter Disputes (Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences; University of Calgary; June 2016)

  • “The Inventive Concept in Patent Law: Not So Obvious” (2015) 27 Intellectual Property Journal 385

  • “Tied Hands? A Doctrinal and Policy Argument for the Validity of Advance Consent” (2014) 18 Canadian Criminal Law Review 119

  • “Assessing Analogous Grounds: The Doctrinal and Normative Superiority of a Multi-Variable Approach” (2013) 10 University of Toronto Journal of Law & Equality 37

  • Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie‑Britannique v British Columbia, 2020 SCC 13 (Charter right to official language education – existence, nature and quality of schools across the province, scope of permissible s. 1 justifications, Charter damages

  • Michel v Graydon, 2020 SCC 24 (family law, child support, whether the court has jurisdiction to vary a child support order after the order has expired and after the child support beneficiary has ceased to be a child)

  • Colucci v Colucci, 2021 SCC 24 (family law, child support, framework governing applications by payor parents to rescind or retroactively decrease child support)

  • English Montreal School Board v Quebec, 2021 QCCS 1466 (constitutional law, Charter challenge to Quebec’s Laicity Act (Bill 21), including on the basis that it infringes sex equality (s. 28) and minority language rights (s. 23))

  • R v Chouhan, SCC 39062 (constitutional law, Charter challenge to Canada’s abolition of peremptory challenges in jury selection (Bill C-75), including on the basis that it infringes the right to an impartial tribunal under s. 11(d))

  • Montejo v Canada, FCA A-290-19 (international law, how international obligations and the Charter inform the proper interpretation of “wrongdoing” under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act)

  • Danelle Michel v Sean Graydon SCC 38498 (family law, gender equality)

  • A.B. v C.D., 2019 BCCA 297 (family law and healthcare law; capacity of mature transgender minor to provide informed consent to gender-affirming treatment including hormone therapy; availability of protection orders under BC’s family law legislation to stop misgendering, deadnaming, and coercion of transgender minor; scope of freedom of expression and parental liberty rights of parent opposed to the medical treatment and protection order)

Joshua In the News

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