Prof. Sébastien Jodoin directs the Law, Governance & Sustainability Lab. The Lab supports and carries out research that focuses on legal and policy solutions to complex problems that occur at the intersections of the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainability at the local, national, transnational, and international levels.

The Lab's work is eclectic and moves back and forth between as well as combines doctrinal, theoretical, and empirical approaches to the study of law and public policy. Much of the Lab’s research is influenced by new legal realism, particularly its interest in understanding how law relates to society, identifying opportunities for social change in and around the law, and using empirical research for doing so. To this end, the Lab’s research is frequently interdisciplinary, drawing on theories and methods from the social sciences (primarily political science, anthropology, sociology, and social psychology) to account for the emergence, evolution, and influence of laws, policies, and institutions in a variety of settings.

The Lab’s research is currently organized around four principal axes of research: (1) transnational legal and policy processes; (2) rights, governance, and sustainability; (3) Canadian climate policy; and (4) corporate governance and social responsibility.

Transnational legal and Policy Processes

This research axis addresses the changing character and influence of law and policy in the context of the intensification of political, social, and commercial globalization, the multiplication of international, regional, and bilateral forms of governance, and the emergence of private and hybrid regulatory arrangements. Its primary focus lies in explaining how legal norms and public policies are developed, interpreted, and applied through complex processes that transcend the traditional territorial boundaries of sovereign states. One line of inquiry focuses on the nature of transnational legal processes in the field of climate change and their influence on legal and social change across sites of authority at the global, regional, transnational, domestic, and local levels. Another line of inquiry focuses on how and to what extent different pathways in complex governance arrangements, such as international rules, norms, markets, funding, and knowledge, may influence the development and implementation of environmental policies at the domestic level.


Selected Publications

Sébastien Jodoin & Sarah Mason-Case, “What Difference Does CBDR Make? A Socio-Legal Analysis of the Role of Differentiation in the Transnational Legal Process for REDD+” (2016) 5(2) Transnational Environmental Law 255-284 (link).

Sébastien Jodoin, “Pathways of Influence in the NAFTA Regime and their Implications for Domestic Environmental Policy-Making in North America,” in Hoi Kong & Kinvin Wroth, eds, NAFTA and Sustainable Development: The History, Experience and Prospects For Reform (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015) 329-350.

Research Grants

Sébastien Jodoin, Principal Investigator. “Transnational Pathways to Environmental Governance Reform in Developing Countries: Lessons Learned from the Implementation of REDD+.” –  $37,081 – Fonds québécois de recherche société et culture, Start-Up Programme for New Professors (2016-2019).

Sébastien Jodoin, Principal Investigator. “The Transnational Legal Process for REDD+ and Indigenous and Community Rights”  –  $220,000 – Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship and Post-Doctoral Dissemination Grant (2011-2015).

rights, governance, and, sustainability

This axis focuses on the intersections between various public and private rights (including human rights, participatory rights, property rights, and resource rights) and the governance of sustainability. A current line of inquiry considers the role that human rights principles and obligations can play in shaping the design and implementation of mechanisms, measures, and initiatives and in the fields of climate change and forest governance. Another line of inquiry investigates the socio-legal processes through which climate activists, lawyers, and policy-makers have invoked human rights norms and arguments to raise awareness of the adverse consequences of climate change in the lives of affected individuals and to spur public and private actors to take meaningful action to reduce their carbon emissions.


Selected Publications

Sébastien Jodoin, “The Rights of Forest-Dependent Communities in the Complex Legal Framework for REDD+,” in Christina Voigt, ed, Research Handbook on REDD-plus and International Law (London, UK: Edward Elgar Press, 2016) 157-185.

Sébastien Jodoin, Sébastien Duyck & Katherine Lofts, “Public Participation and Climate Governance: An Introduction,” Special Issue: Public Participation and Climate Governance (2015) 24:2 Review of European Community & International Environmental Law 1-6 (link)

Sébastien Jodoin, “Can Rights-based Approaches Enhance Legitimacy and Cooperation in Conservation? A Relational Account” (2014) 15:3 Human Rights Review 283-303 (link).

Sébastien Jodoin & Sean Stephenson, “Introduction: Understanding Legal Empowerment of the Poor in the Context of Sustainable Development” (2013) 2:1 Canadian Journal of Poverty Law i-ix (link).


Research Grants

Sébastien Jodoin, Principal Investigator. “Rights in a Changing Climate: Understanding the Role of Human Rights Norms in Transnational Climate Advocacy” – $74,862 - SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2015-2017).

Canadian climate policy


This axis of research seeks to generate, summarize, and share new knowledge on the most effective policy approaches and instruments that federal and provincial governments may adopt and implement to mitigate and adapt to climate change. My recent work in this area has been collaborative and has taken place under the aegis of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), a collective of over 70 Canadian scholars working in the field of climate change.


Selected Publications

Catherine Potvin... Sébastien Jodoin... et al., Reenergizing Canada. Pathways to a Low- Carbon Future, report commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources, Government of Canada, May 2017 (link).

Catherine Potvin... Sébastien Jodoin... et al. “Stimulating a Canadian Narrative for Climate,” (2017) 2 Facets 131-149 (link).

Catherine Potvin ... Sébastien Jodoin... et al., “Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from 60 Canadian Scholars,” (2015) 6(1) Journal of Environmental Investing (link). 

Catherine Potvin... Sébastien Jodoin... et al., Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars (Sustainable Canada Dialogues, March 2015) (link).

Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility

This axis focuses on the changing governance and responsibilities of corporations in a world facing complex social, economic, and environmental challenges. Previous research has considered the role of international criminal accountability in addressing corporate misconduct and its negative environmental and social implications. Previous research has considered the role of international and transnational criminal accountability in addressing corporate misconduct and its negative environmental and social implications. An on-going project considers the ways in which alternative legal vehicles such as benefit corporations, community-interest corporations, cooperatives, and new Indigenous approaches to resource development are transforming the practice of corporate law in the western world.


Selected Publications

Benjamin Cashore, Chris Elliott, Erica Pohnan, Michael Stone & Sébastien Jodoin, “Achieving Sustainability through Market Mechanisms,” in Rajat Panwar, Robert Kozak & Eric Hansen, eds, Forests, Business and Sustainability (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2016) 45-69.

Sébastien Jodoin & Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, eds, Sustainable Development, International Criminal Law, and Treaty Implementation (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Sébastien Jodoin & Yolanda Saito, “Crimes against Future Generations: Harnessing the Potential of Individual Criminal Accountability for Global Sustainability” (2012) 7:2 McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law & Policy 115-155.