Robert Diab



Robert’s research interests are in civil liberties and human rights and in social and political facets of core rights and freedoms. 

Called to the bar in 2002, Robert practiced criminal and administrative law in Vancouver before completing a PhD in law at UBC exploring issues in national security in Canada and the United States. He is the author of Guantanamo North (Fernwood, 2008) and The Harbinger Theory: How the Post-9/11 Emergency Became Permanent and the Case for Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015). 

In 2014, Robert co-founded the Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law ( and has co-edited eight volumes of the journal on such topics as digital privacy, the rule of law, and democratic decay. 

Robert’s recent work explores issues relating to core rights in a range of areas, including law enforcement demands for back doors to encryption, internet governance and free speech, and liberty and security of the person in the opioid crisis and in mental health law. 

He is now writing a book on search and seizure for Irwin Law. His publications can be found below and at

  • Search and Seizure (Irwin Law) [work in progress, with Chris Hunt]
  • 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).
Journal Articles
  • “Reasonable Apprehension Under Mental Health Law” (forthcoming: 2022) Queens Law Journal (with Jolene Sanderson)
  • “The Opioid Crisis and Section 7: Charter Implications of Safe Supply and Simple Possession” (forthcoming: 2022) 55:2 UBC Law Review (with Rose Morgan and Robyn Young)
  • “The Real Lesson of the Freedom Convoy ‘Emergency’: Canada Needs a Public Order Policing Act” (2022) 70 Criminal Law Quarterly
  • “Pathways to Police Adoption of Body and Dash Cameras in Canada: How and Why Parliament Should Intervene” (2022) 70 Criminal Law Quarterly (with Marshal Putnam)
  • “Striking the Right Balance? Complainant Privacy and Full Answer and Defence in the New First-party Records Regime” (2021) 69 Criminal Law Quarterly 191 (with Robyn Young)
  • "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 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)
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)