Kathryn Chan

Associate Professor

Kathryn Chan

Kathryn Chan

Tel: 250-721-8163
Fax: 250-472-8146


Faculty of Law
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700, STN CSC
Victoria, BC  V8W 2Y2

Kathryn Chan is an Associate Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria. Her research focuses on the regulation of civil society, the intersection of law and religion, legal pluralism, and the public law-private law divide. Dr. Chan has participated in SSHRC-funded studies on the operation of organizational interveners in Canadian religious freedom litigation, on the role of Canadian charitable foundations, and on the adjudication of religious refugee claims. Her book titled The Public-Private Nature of Charity Law (Hart Bloomsbury, 2016), explores the public and private law dimensions of the law of charities. Her paper titled “The Co-optation of Charitable Resources by Threatened Welfare States” received the CALT Scholarly Paper Award in 2015. She has published in a number of other leading handbooks and law journals, including The Research Handbook of Not-for-Profit Law (Edward Elgar, 2018), the University of Toronto Law Journal, and the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.

Dr. Chan joined the Faculty of Law in 2013. She holds a B. Mus.(McGill), a J.D.(Toronto), an LL.M.(McGill), and a D.Phil.(Law) from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Trudeau Foundation scholar. Prior to joining the law faculty, she practiced law in Vancouver for several years, and served an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Subsection. From July 2022 until June 2023, she served as Acting Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Victoria.

At UVic Law Dr. Chan teaches Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, and Non-Profit Sector Law. She also supervises graduate research in her areas of expertise. In 2023 she received the UVic Law Students’ Society Terry J Wuester Award for excellence in teaching.

  • BMus (Honours) – McGill (1999)
  • JD – Toronto (2001)
  • LLM (Honours) – McGill (2006)
  • DPhil (Oxon) – 2014

Books, Chapters, Monographs

  • Kathryn Chan, The Public-Private Nature of Charity Law (Oxford: Hart Bloomsbury, 2016)

  • Kathryn Chan, “The Evolution of Charitable Purposes" in Susan Phillips and Bob Wyatt, ed, The Canadian text on the nonprofit sector, 1st ed. (forthcoming open-access text being published by the Muttart Foundation in 2018)

  • Kathryn Chan, “Not-for-Profit Law, Public Law and Private Law” in Matthew Harding, ed., Research Handbook on Not-for-Profit Law (forthcoming Edward Elgar 2018)

Journal Articles

  • Kathryn Chan, "Identifying the Institutional Religious Freedom Claimant" (2017) 95:3 Canadian Bar Review 707
  • Kathryn Chan, “Charity and Justice: a conversation with women of faith serving marginalized populations in British Columbia” (2017) 36:2 Journal of Religious Studies and Theology 212
  • Kathryn Chan, “The Perils of Federalizing the Private Law: a Case Study of the Income Tax Act Gift Concept” (2017) 50:3 UBC Law Review 579
  • Kathryn Chan, “The Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose in an Age of Religious Neutrality” (2017) 6:1 Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 112
  • Kathryn Chan, “The Function (or Malfunction) of Equity in the Charity Law of Canada’s Federal Courts” (2016) 2 Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 33
  • Kathryn Chan, “The Co-optation of Charitable Resources by Threatened Welfare States” (2015) 40:2 Queen’s Law Journal 561
    ***awarded the 2015 Scholarly Paper Award of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers
  • Kathryn Chan, "The Role of the Attorney General in charity proceedings in Canada and in England and Wales" (2011) 89:2 Canadian Bar Review 373
  • Kathryn Chan, "Charitable according to whom?: The clash between Quebec's societal values and the law governing the registration of charities" (2008) 49 Les Cahiers de Droit 277
  • Kathryn Chan, "Taxing Charities/Imposer les Organismes de Bienfaisance: Harmonization and Dissonance in Canadian Charity Law" (2007) 55:3 Canadian Tax Journal 481
  • Kathryn Bromley Chan, "The Dueling Narratives of Religious Freedom: a comment on Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem" (2005) 43:2 Alberta Law Review 451
  • Kathryn Bromley Chan, "From Legal Universalism to Legal Pluralism: expanding and enhancing the human rights approach to HIV/AIDS" (2005) 21: 2 South African Journal of Human Rights 191
  • Kathryn Bromley, "The Definition of Religion in Charity Law in the Age of Fundamental Human Rights" (2001) 7:1 Charity Law and Practice Review 39, (2000) 3:1 The International Journal for Not-for-Profit Law, and (2001) 16 The Philanthropist 2 and 3

Popular Press

  • Constitutional law - LAW 100
  • Legal process - LAW 106
  • Administrative law - LAW 301
  • Voluntary sector and the law (charities) - LAW 343
  • Law and Religion - LAW 379

Prof. Chan welcomes expressions of interest from prospective graduate students with an interest in non-profit law and governance, the intersection of law and religion, the regulation of civil society, and the intersection of public law and private law.