Sarah-jane Nussbaum

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Dissertation Title: Constitutionalism and Criminal Law in Canada

Dissertation Topic:

My dissertation investigates how Canadian courts should utilize the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to engage with criminal law concepts. I identify the extent to which Canadian courts have incorporated criminal law concepts, such as moral voluntariness, the harm principle, and the principle of proportionality in sentencing, into the content of constitutional rights. I then discern what the decisions reveal about the possible functions, and limitations, of constitutional rights when courts encounter contingent and contested ideas about criminal law's appropriate purposes and scope. Drawing on theory in the areas of criminal law and constitutional law, I contemplate how Canadian courts should, in future legal cases, structure the relationship between constitutional rights and criminal law concepts.


  • Master of Law (LL.M.) - University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, 2015-2016
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.) - University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, 2011-2014
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) - University of Saskatchewan, College of Arts & Science, 2007-2011

Professional Experience

  • Law Clerk, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, 2014-2015
  • Member, Saskatchewan Bar (presently inactive)


  • Elia Scholarship, York University, 2016-2020
  • Harley D. Hallett Scholarship, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2016-2020
  • The Right Honourable Paul Martin Sr. Scholarship at Cambridge University, Cambridge Trust & Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, 2015-2016
  • Law Society of Saskatchewan Gold Medal, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, 2014
  • Thomas Dowrick Brown Prize (Most Distinguished Graduate), University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, 2014
  • Blakes Scholar Award, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, 2012, 2013