Catherine Le Guerrier

PhD Candidate
Catherine Le Guerrier photo
Dissertation Title
Consumer contracts for credit: Private law in socio-econo-historical context


My project has two components. The first is a history of the reception of credit cards in Canadian law in the late 1960s. The second is a work of private theory, in which I explore the relevance of this history for contract theory. My aim is to consider the institution of contract holistically, as a hybrid of both common law rules and specialized regulation. Whether one believes credit cards are a boon or a pernicious form of exploitation, it is undeniable they have affected, if not completely transmuted, our relationship to money and debt. Credit cards are, at their core, an agreement with a provider; but when these contracts began appearing in Canada a number of protective rules were put in place. These rules shaped the institution and paved the way to the total integration of credit cards into our lives. They also responded to specific social and economic concerns and served to balance the ambition of freedom of contract with the realities of standard forms and a concern for fairness and equality. Most importantly for my purposes, they are relevant to the institution of contract. Regulation is rarely seen as being internal to contract law; but it affects most of the contracts ordinary Canadians agree to. Theories of contract are, for the most part, theories of justice: they consider whether certain uses of state power are appropriate and can ground coherent critiques of state action. Only they cannot play this role if they only consider contract at its most conceptual. Some contracts – like credit card agreements – form the basis of social changes that go far beyond the relationship between a consumer and an issuer. They deserve the same level of scrutiny as foundational concepts of contract; only, this require attentiveness to the socio-econo-historical.


2019: Master of Philosophy - Université de Montréal

2015: Bachelor of Civil Law/LLB - McGill University

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, Gender and the Law, Department of Social Science, York University (2020-2021)

Teaching Assistant, Fundamental Notions in Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal (2019)

Teaching Assistant, Ethics and Issues in Criminology, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal (2019)

Teaching Assistant, Advanced Civil Law Obligations, McGill Faculty of Law (2013)

Professional Experience

Law clerk to the Hon. Clément Gascon, Supreme Court of Canada (2017-2018)

Research Assistant, McGill Faculty of Law (2012-2015)

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022)
  • Harley D Hallet Graduate Scholarship, Osgoode Hall Law School (2020-2021)
  • Best student presentation award, Quebec Philosophy Society’s Annual Conference (2019)
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s Scholarship (2016-2017)
  • Master’s Scholarship, Fonds de recherche du Québec (2016, declined)
  • Edwin Botsford Busteed Scholarship, McGill Faculty of Law (2016)
  • Principal David L. Johnston Medal for Contribution, McGill Faculty of Law (2015)
  • Dean’s Honour List, McGill Faculty of Law (2011-2015)
  • Catherine Le Guerrier, “‘What huge influence they could have!’: Consumer empowerment in and around Quebec’s first Consumer Protection Act” (forthcoming September 2022) Les Cahiers de Droit [peer-reviewed].
  • Catherine Le Guerrier, “Clément Gascon, juge « pour le Québec »” (2021) 103 Supreme Court Law Review 2nd series 80. - Also published in Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly & Joshua Sealy-Harrington, eds, Une force tranquille – The Judicial Legacy of Clément Gascon (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2022).
  • Mark Antaki and Catherine Le Guerrier, “Monument, Portrait, Tableau: Making Sense of and with Jacques-Louis David’s Tennis Court Oath” in S. Huygebaert et al, eds, Sensing the Nation’s Law, (Springer, 2018) 11.