Faculty Spotlight: Mary Liston

Mary Liston joined the Allard School of Law in July 2009 after visiting during the 2008-09 academic year. Prior to her appointment at UBC, she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Ethics at the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto. She completed her doctoral work in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, having already received an M.A. in Social and Political Thought at York University, an LL.B. from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, and an Honours B.A. in English Language and Literature at the University of Western Ontario. As a graduate student, she received a number of prestigious awards including the Peter Russell/Ontario Graduate Scholarship in the Department of Political Science and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Scholarship for her doctoral work. Her doctoral thesis, “Honest Counsel: Institutional Dialogue and the Canadian Rule of Law,” constructs a theoretical model of a democratic rule of law from a close reading of Canadian jurisprudence in public law, with a particular focus on constitutional law and administrative law.

Professor Liston teaches administrative law, legal theory, and public law. Her work in administrative law has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a co-organizer of UBC’s Law and Society Speakers Series as well as a member of the Law and Society Advisory Board at UBC.

Professor Liston takes an interdisciplinary approach to her research. Her recent research projects include an analysis of legal and moral import of the duty to consult and accommodate in administrative law, a case study of the BC Representative of Youth and Children as an example of the integration of inquisitorial and adversarial models within the administrative state, and the function of apologies in Canadian public law.

What is your Non-Law Dream Job? Either head gardener at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew or neuroscientist—can one be both at the same time?!

What is your favorite movie or book? The Big Lebowski (but you can see one of my favorites in my office: Down  by Law). Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf for a favorite book.

What is your favorite judicial decision and why? It is a tie between Roncarelli v Duplessis, because it still has the best judicial articulation of the principle of the rule of law anywhere, and The Secession Reference because it is one of the most eloquent judgments ever written by any court in the world. In terms of significance, two recent Supreme Court decisions must be mentioned: Tsilhqot’in Nation and Carter.

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