Akande, Rabiat

Professor Rabiat Akande works in the fields of legal history, law and religion, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, international law, and (post)colonial African law and society. Her research explores law’s interplay with global inequality. She investigates this relationship in the historical setting of Europe’s nineteenth and twentieth-century empire, especially in its encounter with Africa and the Muslim World. Her work further grapples with the afterlife of that encounter for law, unveiling legacies that resound far beyond erstwhile colonies.

In her recent book, Entangled Domains: Empire, Law and Religion in Northern Nigeria (Cambridge University Press, 2023), Dr. Akande investigates the case of the British imperial encounter in Colonial Northern Nigeria. In particular, the book chronicles contestations between British colonial officials, Christian missionaries, and indigenous Muslim elites over law’s governance religious difference, and grapples with the postcolonial legacy of those struggles. The book illuminates law’s centrality to one of modernity’s most contested issues–the relationship between religion, the state, and society–while also spotlighting law’s complex relationship with power, political theology, identity, and socio-political change.

Beyond Entangled Domains, Dr. Akande’s work has appeared in the American Journal of International Law (forthcoming), the Law and History Review, the Journal of Law and Religion, the Supreme Court Law Review, Die Welt des Islam (forthcoming), and in co-edited volumes published by or forthcoming with the Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, University of Toronto Press, and the University of Virginia Press. Dr. Akande is currently at work on “Malcolm X, Black Globalism, and the Human Rights Critique of Imperialism,” a book project that investigates the globalist critique of imperialism that was central to Malcolm X’s thought in his last years and inspired by his visits to Africa and the Muslim World. She is also at work on a volume interrogating histories of the idea of the “international” in pre-colonial Africa.

Dr. Akande chairs the international legal history project at the African Institute of International Law in Arusha with the support of the African Union and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, among other institutions. Before Osgoode Hall Law School, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies as an Academy Scholar from 2019-2021. She received her Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree from Harvard Law School in 2019 with her dissertation, “Navigating Entanglements: Contestations over Religion-State Relations in British Northern Nigeria, c. 1890-1978” receiving the Law and Society in the Muslim World Prize. At Harvard University, Dr. Akande held the Clark Byse fellowship at the Law School and was a Dissertation Fellow and Graduate Student Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She also served on the editorial board of the Harvard International Law Journal. Dr Akande taught courses at Harvard in the Law School and the Department for African and African American Studies. She also taught at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to her graduate work, Dr. Akande obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ibadan, graduating with First Class Honors and at the top of her class. She later studied at the Nigerian Law School, from which she also graduated with First Class Honors.

Dr. Akande’s research has been supported by fellowships and grants, including from the US National Science Foundation (as part of a Law and Society Association International Research Collaborative), the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Cravath International Research fellowship, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs fellowship, the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World research grant, among others. She serves on the International Journal of Law in Context editorial board. She is the co-chair of the American Society of International Law’s Africa Interest Group. She is also active in the American Society for Legal History, the Law and Society Association, and the African Studies Association.

Research Interests:  legal history, law and religion, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, international law and the global south, and (post)colonial African law and society.

Berger, Benjamin L.

Professor Benjamin L. Berger is Professor and York Research Chair in Pluralism and Public Law at Osgoode Hall Law School. In 2020 he was elected as a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor Berger served as Associate Dean (Students) from 2015-2018. He holds an appointment as Professor (status only) in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and is a member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. Prior to joining Osgoode, he was an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, and was cross-appointed in the Department of Philosophy, at the University of Victoria, where he began teaching in 2004. He holds a JSD and LLM from Yale University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar and a SSHRC doctoral fellow. He earned his LLB and the Law Society Gold Medal from the University of Victoria, and was awarded the Gold Medal in Arts and the Governor General’s Academic Medal for his BA (Hons) studies at the University of Alberta. In 2002-2003, Professor Berger served as law clerk to the Rt. Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada.

His areas of research and teaching specialization are law and religion, criminal and constitutional law and theory, and the law of evidence.  He has published broadly in these fields and his work has appeared in leading legal and interdisciplinary journals and edited collections.  He is the author of Law’s Religion: Religious Difference and the Claims of Constitutionalism (University of Toronto Press, 2015), is a general editor of the Hart Publishing series Constitutional Systems of the World, and served as Editor in Chief of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society from 2014-2018. He is also co-editor of multiple edited collections, including Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority (Hart, 2016) and The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies (UBC Press, 2008). He has been a principal investigator or collaborator on multiple research grants and has received awards for his scholarly work, including the 2010 Canadian Association of Law Teachers’ Scholarly Paper Award for an article entitled “The Abiding Presence of Conscience: Criminal Justice Against the Law and the Modern Constitutional Imagination” and, in 2015, the CALT-ACPD Prize for Academic Excellence.

Professor Berger is active in judicial, professional, and public education, is involved in public interest advocacy, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada. While at UVic Law, Professor Berger twice received the Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award, and was awarded the First Year Class Teaching Award. He received the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award in 2013.

Professor Berger convenes the Osgoode Colloquium in Law, Religion & Social Thought and is the Academic Program Director of the Osgoode Professional LLM in Criminal Law and Procedure.

Research Interests: Law and Religion; Criminal and Constitutional Law and Theory; the Law of Evidence; Legal History; Judgment and the Judiciary; Law and the Humanities.

Hay, Douglas C.

Professor Emeritus Douglas Hay was cross-appointed to Osgoode Hall Law School and York’s Department of History in 1981, teaching the comparative history of criminal procedure, punishment, and crime, and the history of private law in the common law world. He was co- director of an international project on the evolution of the contract of employment: Hay and Craven, Masters, Servants and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562-1955 (2004) and other titles, most recently ‘Working Time, Dinner Time, Serving Time: Labour and Law in Industrialization’ in Law With Class: Essays Inspired by the Work of Harry Glasbeek (2019) and ‘The Master and Servant Statute of 1823: Enlarging the Powers of Justices Act’, Historical Studies in Industrial Relations, 43 (2022), 3-23.

Other work includes the English high court’s criminal jurisdiction (Criminal Cases on the Crown Side of King’s Bench 1740-1800 (2010); ‘Hanging and the English Judges: The Judicial Politics of Retention and Abolition,’ in America’s Death Penalty: Between Past and Present (2010); D. Hay, P. Linebaugh, E.P. Thompson (eds.), Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (2nd edition, with new introductions, 2011); ‘E.P. Thompson and the Rule of Law: Qualifying the Unqualified Good’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Rule of Law (2021), 202-220; and the ‘Preface’ to the concluding volume of Canadian State Trials, vol.5 (2022).
Professor Hay is presently writing about the administration of the criminal law in Georgian England, the role of the judiciary in King’s Bench, and the comparative history of criminal procedure in the British Empire. He has published books and articles on the history of English and Quebec criminal law; history of criminal procedure; social history of crime; judicial biography; courts and their political significance; and the history of employment law. He has been a visitor at Yale, Warwick, and Columbia law schools, and has been on the boards of the Canadian Historical Review, Law and History Review, the Law and Society Association, and the American Society for Legal History. He has given the Chorley Lecture (London School of Economics), the Iredell Lecture in Legal History (University of Lancaster), The Hugh Alan Maclean Lecture (University of Victoria Faculty of Law), the Weir Memorial Lecture (University of Alberta School of Law), the Annual Lecture for the American Society of Legal History, the Hugh Fitzpatrick Lecture in Legal Bibliography (Dublin), and the Richard Youard Lecture in Legal History (Oxford University). He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History in 2013, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Social Sciences) in 2016.

Girard, Philip

Philip Girard joined the faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School on July 1, 2013. He had previously visited Osgoode as the James Lewtas Visiting Professor in 1993-94 and 2011-12. Professor Girard is one of Canada’s most distinguished legal academics and legal historians. In 2011, he was made an honorary fellow of the American Society for Legal History, the first Canadian to be so recognized, and in 2021 was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Prior to joining Osgoode, he was University Research Professor, and Professor of Law, History & Canadian Studies at Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.  At Dalhousie, he served as the Law School’s Acting Dean, 1991-93, and Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research), 2002-06. In 2010-11 and 2017-18, he was Visiting Scholar, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto. He enjoys a richly deserved reputation for collegial and professional service including service as Chair, Law, Criminology & Socio-legal Studies Adjudication Committee, Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2008-11, and President, Canadian Association of Law Teachers, 2003-04.

His current work is a co-authored (with Jim Phillips and Blake Brown) three-volume History of Law in Canada. This is the first synoptic overview of the history of law in Canada, one that includes Indigenous law, civil law, and common law. Vol. I, beginnings to 1866 (Toronto:  University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society, 2018) received a Walter Owen Prize from the Foundation for Legal Research and honourable mention for the Wesley Pue Canadian Law and Society Association Prize. Vol. II, Law for the New Dominion (1867-1914) appeared in 2022 and won the Wesley Pue Canadian Law and Society Association Prize, while vol. III (1914-2000) is expected to appear in 2026. Other publications include Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society,  2011), winner of the Clio-Atlantic Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association; and Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society, 2005), for which Prof. Girard was awarded the  Champlain Society’s Floyd S. Chalmers Award 2006, for best book published on Ontario history in previous year, and shortlisted for the John A. Macdonald Prize 2006, for best book published on Canadian history in 2005.

He is also editor (with Jim Phillips) of two collections on Nova Scotia legal history: The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle  (2004), and Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Volume III, Nova Scotia (1990), both published by the University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society. Professor Girard is the author of numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters, and is Associate Editor of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.

Geva, Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin Geva is a Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He specializes in (domestic, comparative and international) commercial, financial and banking law, particularly in payment and credit instruments, fund transfers, electronic transferable transport documents, letters of credit, electronic banking, central banking, money & currency, digital currencies, and assets, and the regulation of the payment system. He obtained his LLB (cum laude) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1970) and his LLM and SJD at Harvard, and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1982. He has been on the Osgoode faculty since 1977. He practised with Blake, Cassels and Graydon in Toronto and is now (part-time) counsel with Torys where he is a member of the Payments and Cards Practice Group.

He was awarded prestigious competitive grants among others by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Foundation of Legal Research of the Canadian Bar Association and has written extensively in his areas of expertise, including a monograph on Financing Consumer Sales and Product Defences in Canada and the US (Toronto: Carswell, 1984), a treatise on the Law of Electronic Funds Transfer (New York: Matthew Bender, 1992, kept current with annual updates (since 1997 with contributors) until 2020, a comparative law text on Bank Collections and Payment Transactions (Oxford: OUP, 2001), a monograph on The Payment Order of Antiquity and the Middle Ages – A Legal History (Oxford and Oregon: Hart Publishing, 2011), and a text co-written with Dr. Sagi Peari on International Negotiable Instruments (Oxford: OUP, 2020).  As well, he is the founding editor in chief of the Banking and Finance Law Review (BFLR) (1986- 2018) and is now Chair of its Advisory Board.

He held visiting positions, in the United States at the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the University of Utah and Northwestern University as well as in the summer program of Duke University in Hong Kong; in Israel at Tel Aviv University; in Australia in Monash, Deakin, Melbourne and Sydney Universities; in Singapore at the National University of Singapore, in Germany in the University of Hamburg, and in France at the faculté de droit et de science politique d’Aix-Marseille. He has been a Visitor at the law faculties of Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England and at Max-Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law in Hamburg (Germany), as well as a Senior Global Research Fellow at the Hauser Global Visitors Program at New York University School of Law, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Vienna (Austria), and Visiting Scholar at the International Trade Law Division of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, (the substantive secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Vienna).

Under the IMF technical assistance program he has advised and drafted key financial sector and payment systems legislation for the authorities of several countries, particularly, on missions for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Haiti, Serbia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and Sri Lanka. For UNCITRAL he has been working on electronic transferable transport documents.  Both  in Canada and  the United States and  also in the international arena he has been either a member or an observer in legislative committees and drafting working or study groups in the areas of personal property security, securities transfers, letters of credits & independent guarantees, and payment laws.

His current research is on digital currencies and assets, payment and settlement laws and systems,  electronic transferable transport documents, and a text on General Principles of Canadian Law on Negotiable Instruments and Payment Transactions (to be published by Irwin Law)