Katie Sykes


BA (Queen’s), JD (Toronto), LLM (Harvard), LLM (Dalhousie), PhD (Dalhousie)

Professor Sykes’s main research area is animal law. She also writes and researches on innovation in law and the future of the legal profession.

Professor Sykes obtained a JD from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2002, graduating as the gold medallist. She was a law clerk to Hon. Justice Louis LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2002-2003, and then attended Harvard Law School as a Frank Knox Scholar, graduating with an LLM in 2004. She also holds an LLM and a PhD from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie. Her PhD research focused on the relationship between international trade law and global animal law. From 2004 to 2010, she was an associate in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, a leading international business law firm.

Professor Sykes developed the first course at a Canadian law school in which students design and build legal apps to help members of the public with their legal problems: Designing Legal Expert Systems (Apps for Access to Justice), delivered in collaboration with legal tech firm Neota Logic.

Professor Sykes’ latest book is Animal Welfare and International Trade Law: The Impact of the WTO Seal Case (Elgar, 2021). Read about it here. She is also co-editor with Peter Sankoff and Vaughan Black of Canadian Perspectives on Animals and the Law (Irwin Law, 2015). She has published in the McGill Law Journal, the Canadian Yearbook of International Law, the Dalhousie Law Journal, Animal Law Review, World Trade Review, the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, the George Washington International Law Review, and the European Journal of International Law, among other journals. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Animal Justice Canada.

Professor Sykes is currently leading a major research project on the Civil Resolution Tribunal, British Columbia's online court, funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Learn more about the project here.

Professor Sykes teaches Tort Law in the first-year curriculum. In the upper year curriculum, the courses she has taught include Animals and the Law, Designing Legal Expert Systems (Apps for Access to Justice), and Corporate Governance.

  1. Animal Welfare and International Trade Law: The Impact of the WTO Seal Case (Elgar, 2021)
  2. “Civil Revolution: User Experiences with British Columbia’s Online Court (with Rebecca Dickson, Sarah Ewart, Candice Foulkes and Marina Landry), forthcoming in Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice.
  3. “Animal Rights and Environmental Rights” (co-authored with Sara Bagg) in Alastair Lucas et al, eds, Environmental Law and Policy 4th ed (Emond, 2020)
  4. “The Whale, Inside: Ending Cetacean Captivity in Canada” (2019) 5 Canadian Journal of Comparative & Contemporary Law 349-405.
  5. “Animal Welfare, Wildlife and International Trade Law” in Werner Scholtz, ed, Animal Welfare and International Environmental Law: From Conservation to Compassion (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019) 269-304.
  6. “Animal Rights and Environmental Rights” (co-authored with Sara Bagg) in Alastair Lucas et al, eds, Environmental Law and Policy 4th ed (Emond, forthcoming 2019).
  7. "What Constitutes Legitimate Policy Space for Food Security" in Les Jacobs and Daniel Drache, eds, Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance (UBC Press, 2018).
  8. “The Appeal to Science and the Formation of Global Animal Law” (2016) 27(2) European Journal of International Law 497-581.
  9. “Marine Telemetry and the Conservation and Management of Risk to Seal Species in Canada and Australia” (2016), 47:3 Ocean Development & International Law 1-17 (co-authored with Julia Jabour, Mary-Anne Lea, Simon Goldsworthy, Graeme Melcher, and Mark A. Hindell).
  10. “Globalization and the Animal Turn: How International Trade Law Contributes to Global Norms of Animal Protection” 2016 5(1) Transnational Environmental Law 55-79.
  11. Canadian Perspectives on Animals and the Law, co-edited with Vaughan Black and Peter Sankoff (Irwin Law, 2015)
  12. Author of Chapter 2 (“Rethinking the Application of Canadian Criminal Law to Factory Farming”); co-author with Joanna Langille and Robert Howse of Chapter 9 (“Whales and Seals and Bears, Oh My! The Evolution of Global Animal Law and Canada’s Ambiguous Stance”)
  13. “Pluralism in Practice: Moral Legislation and the Law of the WTO After Seal Products,” forthcoming in George Washington International Law Review (2015) (co-authored with Robert Howse and Joanna Langille)
  14. "Hunger Games Without Frontiers: Disasters, Famine and State Obligations to Migrants" in David Caron, Michael J. Kelly & Anastasia Telestsky, eds, The International Law of Disaster Relief (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  15. “Sealing Animal Welfare into the GATT Exceptions: The International Dimension of Animal Welfare in WTO Disputes,” (2013) 13 World Trade Review 471
  16. “Changing Environments: Tracking the Scientific, Socio-political, Legal, and Ethical Currents of the Grey Seal – Cod Debate in Atlantic Canada,” (2013) 16:4 Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 266 (co-authored with Tsafrir Gazit and Damian Lidgard).
  17. “Don’t Think About Elephants: Reece v City of Edmonton”, Case Comment (2012) 63 UNBLJ 145 (co-authored with Vaughan Black)
  18. “‘And the People of the Province’: EGSPA’s Social Deficit” (2012) 35 Dal LJ (co-authored with Susan Tirone and Karen Gallant)
  19. “Nations Like Unto Yourselves: An Inquiry Into the Status of a General Principle of International Law Concerning International Welfare” (2011) 49 CYIL 3
  20. “Human Drama, Animal Trials: What the Medieval Animal Trials Can Teach Us About Justice for Animals” (2011) 17 Animal L 273
  21. “Bambi Meets Godzilla: Children's and Parents' Rights in Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada” (2006) 51:1 McGill LJ 131
  22. “Towards a Public Justification of Copyright” (2003) 61 UT Fac L Rev 1
  23. “Patents and the Public Interest: The Cipro Controversy” (2002) 60 UT Fac L Rev 115
  1. Canadian Animal Law Conference (University of Toronto / online, September 13, 2020): “Fake Laws: How Ag Gag Undermines the Rule of Law” (with Samantha Skinner).
  2. Law and Society Association Annual Meeting (online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, May 29, 2020): “Civil Revolution: User Experiences of British Columbia’s Online Civil Resolution Tribunal.”
  3. Canadian Animal Law Conference (Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, October 6, 2019): “Trade and Animal Law.”
  4. Animal Welfare and International Law Seminar (Lincoln Law School, October 10, 2018): “WTO Law, the Environment, and Animal Welfare.”
  5. Global Animal Law Conference III (University of Hong Kong, May 4-5 2018), “The Whale, Inside: Cetacean Captivity in Canada.”
  6. Legal Education Society of Alberta Conference (Calgary, Alberta, May 24-25, 2018), “The Future of Legal Technology.”
  7. Green College (UBC) Access to Justice Speaker Series (Vancouver, BC January 25, 2017), “Access to Justice for Animals.”
  8. Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services workshop on animal welfare framework (Toronto, ON May 15-16, 2017). Presented on using legal apps to enhance animal cruelty reporting and enforcement.
  9. Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute conference (Banff, Alberta June 1, 2017). Panel presentation on animal welfare and environmental law.
  10. Australasian Law Teachers Association Annual Conference (Adelaide, South Australia July 6, 2017). “Teaching Law Differently: Innovation and Legal Education” (keynote speaker).
  11. Panel on CETA Investment Court (Vancouver, BC September 29, 2016): “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire?” Organized and led panel with Tina Cicchetti of Fasken Martineau, sponsored by Canadian Council on International Law and Fasken Martineau.
  12. Law and Society Association Annual Conference (New Orleans, LA June 1-5 2016), “Lawyering in the Twenty-First Century: Student Experiences in a Non-Traditional Law Course.”
  13. Canadian Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference (Calgary, May 29-30 2016), “Teaching the Future of Law: New Legal Communities.”
  14. Workshop on Animals in Comparative Constitutional Law (Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA February 18-19 2016), “Animals and International Trade Law.”
  15. The Animal Law Conference (Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, OR October 16-18 2015) “Globalizing Animal Law.”
  16. Canadian Council on International Law Annual Conference (Ottawa, November 5-7 2015) “The Fall, Rise and Fall Again of the Northern Fur Seal.”
  17. “Polaris Over Turbulent Waters? The Role and Limits of Science in Navigating International Whaling and Sealing Conflicts” at MARE (Centre for Maritime Research) People and the Sea Conference VIII: Geopolitics of the Oceans, Amsterdam, June 24-26 2015.
  18. Tracking and Management of Grey Seals in Canada at Australia Canada Ocean Research Action Network workshop on Marine Species at Risk: Canadian and Australian Responses, Hobart, Feburary 16-17 2015.
  19. “Owning Ourselves:  Identity, Property, and Moral Rights” at a symposium entitled “Who Are We: The Search for Identity in Law” at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.
  20. "Peace in our time? Food security, policy space and domestic trade remedies in the global south" at Grey Zones of Global Governance and Trade: Anti-Dumping, Subsidies, Human Rights and Policy Spaces, York University, February 6-7, 2014.
  21. "Interdisciplinary Dialogue in the Formation of International Legal Norms: How the "Animal Turn' in Science and Ethics is Shaping International Law" at The 'Animal Turn' and the Law: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and New Directions in Animal Law (First Annual European Animal Law Conference), University of Basel (Switzerland), April 4-5 2014.
  22. Canadian Council on International Law Annual Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, November 15, 2013: "Food Rights and Wrongs"
  23. Sustainable Oceans Conference Dalhousie University, April 12-13, 2013: “The Debate Over Grey Seals and Atlantic Cod,” with Tsafrir Gazit and Damian Lidgard
  24. Fourth International “Fostering A Scholarly Network” Four Societies Conference, Berkeley, California, September 27-29, 2012: “Hunger Games Without Frontiers: The Right to Food and State Obligations to Migrants”
  25. Canadian Council on International Law Annual ConferenceOttawa, Ontario, November 4, 2011: “‘Nations Like Unto Yourselves’: Animal Protection, Cultural Diversity and International Law”
  26. Thinking About Animals Conference Brock University, Saint Catharines, Ontario, March 31, 2011: “Medieval Animal Trials and the Trouble with Animal Rights”
Katie Sykes

OM 4745

  • Lawyering in the Twenty-First Century
    (LAWF 3780-04)
  • International Trade Law
    (LAWF 3450)
  • Property Law
    (LAWF 3050)