Robert Diab

Associate Professor


Robert's research is focused in the areas of criminal law, civil liberties, and human rights. He completed a PhD in law at the University of British Columbia in 2013. Over the course of his doctorate, he held the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and was a visiting scholar at the Yale Law School.

Robert is the author of The Harbinger Theory: How the Post-9/11 Emergency Became Permanent and the Case for Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada (Fernwood, 2008). He has also published on a range of topics including police powers, sentencing, and legal theory. His publications are listed below and can be downloaded at

Together with Professors Neudorf and Hunt, Robert is a founder and co-editor in chief of the Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law.

Robert has also been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2002, with practice experience in criminal and constitutional law. He currently teaches first-year Criminal Law, Evidence, and Advanced Criminal Law in the upper-year curriculum.

  • The Harbinger Theory: How the Post-9/11 Emergency Became Permanent and the Case for Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015).
  • Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada (Fernwood Publishing: Halifax, 2008).
Book Chapters
  • "The Demise of Rights as Trumps", in Ben Goold and Liora Lazarus, eds, Security and Human Rights, 2nd edition (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019). (10,000 words)
  • "Counter-terror Law: Canada" in Kent Roach, ed., Comparative Counter Terror Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015) (14,000 words)
  • "Terrorism as Crime or War?" in Carolyn Brooks and Bernard Schissel, eds., Marginality and Condemnation: An Introduction to Criminology, 3rd edition (Fernwood Publishing: Halifax, 2015) (10,000 words)
  • "Sentencing of Terrorism Offences After 9/11: A Comparative Review of Early Case Law," in Craig Forcese and François Crépeau, eds., Terrorism, Law and Democracy: 10 Years After 9/11 (Montreal: Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, 2011) (12,000 words)
  • "Reading Khadr: Making Sense of Canada's Reluctance To Do the Right Thing", in Janice Williams, ed., Omar Khadr, Oh Canada (McGill-Queens University Press: Montreal, 2012) (with Alnoor Gova)
Journal Articles
  • "Search Engines and Global Takedown Orders: Google v Equustek and the Future of Free Speech Online" (2019) 56:2 Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 231
  • "Does the State Have a Compelling Interest in Searching Device Data at the Border? Emerging Approaches to Reasonable Search in Canada and the United States" (2018) Oxford U Comparative L Forum 1
  • "Protecting the Right to Privacy in Digital Devices: Reasonable Search on Arrest and at the Border" 69 University of New Brunswick Law Journal 96 (2018) (10,000 words)
  • "Justice as Invisibility: Law, Terror, and Dehumanization" (2016) 5 Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research (10,000 words).
  • "The Policing of Major Events in Canada: Lessons from Toronto's G20 and Vancouver's Olympics" (2016) Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues (16,000 words) (with W. Wesley Pue and Grace Jackson).
  • "R. v. Khawaja and the Fraught Question of Rehabilitation in Terrorism Sentencing" (2014) 39: 2 Queens Law Journal (10,000 words)
  • "Sentencing for Terrorism Offences: A Comparative Review of Emerging Jurisprudence" (2011) 15:3 Canadian Criminal Law Review (15,000 words).
  • "Security for the 2010 Olympics – The Gap in Police Powers Under Canadian Law" (2010) 28 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 87-107, (7,300 words) (with Wesley Pue)
Book Reviews
  • University of Toronto Law Journal, 2017 67:1, review of 'False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism,' by Craig Forcese and Kent Roach (Irwin: 2015).
  • Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 2015 30:3, review of 'The Disappearance of Criminal Law: Police Powers and the Supreme Court,' by Richard Jochelson and Kristen Kramar, with Mark Doerksen (Fernwood Publishing: Halifax and Winnipeg, 2014).
  • Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 2010 25:2, review of 'Canadian State Trials: Volume III – Political Trials and Security Measures, 1840-1914 'Barry Wright and Susan Binnie, eds. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009).
  • Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 2007 22:1, review of 'How Patriotic is the Patriot Act?' by Amatai Etzioni (Routledge: New York, 2004).
  • The Advocate, Vol. 61, 2003, review of 'The British Columbia Civil Trial Handbook' ed. by D. Harris et al (C.L.E.: Vancouver, 2003).
  • Clarity, 45, 2000, review of 'Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose' by Francis-Noel Thomas and Mark Turner (Princeton UP: 2000).
Other law publications
  • "Compelling people to reveal their passwords is posing a challenge to police and courts" (27 May 2019) The Conversation |
  • "Is Password Compulsion Constitutional in Canada? Two Views" (July 2019) The Advocate (with Marshall Putnam)
  • "The Big Fail: The Internet Hasn't Helped Democracy" (15 October 2018) The Conversation
  • "Has ISIS Become the New Pretext for Curtailing Our Civil Liberties?" (June 2015) Oxford University Press blog
  • "Canada's Refugee Health Law and Policy from a Comparative, Constitutional, and Human Rights Perspective" (2015) 1:1 The Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law (14,000 words) (with Ruby Dhand).
  • "Security for the Olympics: British Columbia Needs a "Public Order Policing Act" The Advocate September 2009 (with Wesley Pue).
Robert Diab

OM 4765

  • Evidence
    (LAWF 3920)
  • Advanced Criminal Law
    (LAWF 3570)
  • Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law
    (LAWF 3990)
  • Crime: Law and Procedure
    (LAWF 3080)