Alana Klein

Associate Professor

New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 508
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-2764 [Office]
alana.klein [at] (Email)

Talking Teaching Profiles: Encouraging agency


Associate Professor Alana Klein teaches and researches in health law, criminal law, and human rights. The position of marginalized groups and individuals in decentralized and privatized systems and the role of accountability requirements in governance and decision-making are primary preoccupations in her research.

Prior to joining the Faculty, she was a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, where she worked on HIV/AIDS and immigration, legal and other barriers to harm-reduction programs for people who use illegal drugs, and law reform to promote the rights of women and girls in the context of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

She has taught at Columbia Law School and Columbia University and has interned with the International Refugee Program at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) and with the Palestinian Ministry of Economy and Trade. In 2002-2003, she was a law clerk to former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour and she was appointed to the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2006.


J.S.D. (Columbia) 2011

LL.M. (Columbia) 2005

B.C.L., LL.B. (McGill) 2002

B.A. (Concordia) 1997


Associate professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2017-)

Assistant professor, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2008-2017)

Boulton Fellow, McGill University, Faculty of Law (2007-2008)

Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (2006-2007)

Associate in Law, Columbia Law School (2003-2005)

Law clerk to Hon. Louise Arbour, Supreme Court of Canada (2002-2003)

Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada

Areas of Interest

Canadian and comparative constitutional law, human rights law, international law, criminal law


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Criminal Law and the Counter-Hegemonic Potential of Harm Reduction” (2015) 38:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 2-27. [See on SSRN]

“The Arbitrariness in Arbitrariness (and Overbreadth and Gross Disproportionality)” (2013) 63 Supreme Court Law Review 377-402.

“Section 7 of the Charter and the Principled Assignment of Legislative Jurisdiction” (2012) 57 Supreme Court Law Review 59-72, reprinted in Benjamin L. Berger & James Stribopoulos, eds, Unsettled Legacy: Thirty Years of Criminal Justice under the Charter (Toronto: Lexis Nexis, 2012), 93-106.

“So Long as You Have Your Health: Health Care Distribution in Canada and Proceduralist Human Rights” (2012) 30 Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 247-288.

“Criminal Law, Public Health, and Governance of HIV Exposure and Transmission” (2009) 13 International Journal of Human Rights 251-278.

Other Journal Articles

“Gladue in Quebec,” (2009) 54 Criminal Law Quarterly 506-528.

“Judging as Nudging: New Governance Approaches for the Enforcement of Constitutional Social and Economic Rights” (2008) 39 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 351-422.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

“Creative Juices: Social and Economic Rights and the Legal Imagination” in Fannie Lafontaine & François Larocque, eds, Doing Peace the Rights Way: Essays in International Law and Relations in Honour of Louise Arbour (Antwerp: Intersentia, accepted for publication, forthcoming 2018).

“Chapter 2: Jurisdiction” in Joanna Erdman, Vanessa Gruben and Erin Nelson, Canadian Health Law and Policy, 5th ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2017) 29-50.

“Health and Criminal Law in Conflict: Can Proportionality Analysis Help?” in Catherine Régis, Lara Khoury & Robert Kouri, eds, Les grands conflits et droit de la santé (Montréal: Éditions Yvon Blais, 2016) 131-149.

“Feminist Approaches to the Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure” in Catherine Stanton & Hannah Quirk, eds, Criminalising Contagion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) 175-200.

Other Book Chapters

“Participatory Approaches in the Right to Health: Promise and Pitfalls for Human Rights Engagement with the Distribution of Health Resources in Canada” in Martha Jackman & Bruce Porter, eds, Advancing Social Rights in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014) 309-341.

“People living with HIV” in Frédéric Mégret, Florian Hoffmann et al, eds, Dignity: A Special Focus on Vulnerable Groups (Swiss Initiative to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR, 2009) (with Cathi Albertyn). 

Conference Proceedings

“Of Justice and its Scales: Looking Back on (Almost) Forty Years of Rod Macdonald’s Scholarship on Access to Justice” (2014) 59:3 McGill Law Journal 761-771.


“Book Review: Emma Cunliffe, Murder, Medicine, and Motherhood” (2013) 28:3 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 438-440.

Policy Brief

“Don’t Bogart that Evidence-Based Policy: Legalization of Marijuana in Canada” McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy’s HappenStance [2016]. [Read PDF]

Policy Reports

“Sticking Points: Barriers to Access to Needle and Syringe Programs in Canada” (2007) Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

“HIV/AIDS and Immigration: Final Report” (2001) Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.