Janna Promislow

Associate Professor

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

Dr. Janna Promislow is an Associate Professor at UVic Faculty of Law and teaches in both the JD and JID/JD streams. Her research and teaching focus on aboriginal and transsystemic administrative law, Canadian public law, treaty relationships and interpretation, the historical development of intersocietal law between Indigenous and European traders, and colonial legal history and legal pluralism more generally.

Her publications address intersocietal law in fur trade and treaty history, colonial legal history, the relationship between the duty to consult and the jurisprudence on constitutional rights, and the role of administrative law in state-Indigenous relationships. She also contributes to two widely used administrative law textbooks. Janna’s current projects include leading research on Indigenous and state law in the implementation of modern treaties, as part of a SSHRC Partnership Grant (Dr. Irlbacher-Fox-Fox (Carleton), Principal) with the Land Claims Agreement Coalition.

Before her appointment at UVic in 2020, Dr. Promislow was an Associate Professor at Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law and a visiting scholar in 2019 at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria Wellington Faculty of Law (Te Kauhanganui Tātai Ture) in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Over the course of her graduate studies, she has also taught at Osgoode Hall Law School, UVic Law, and the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, and served as Executive Director of the Centre for Constitutional Studies, University of Alberta. Before pursuing graduate studies, Janna clerked with the Law Courts of Alberta and practiced law with Davis & Company in the Northwest Territories. There she worked with Sahtu and other Indigenous communities, addressing land claims implementation issues and residential school claims. Between 2008-2010, she worked as a policy advisor for the Government of Ontario on consultation with Aboriginal communities.


  • BA (Honours) – University of Alberta (1993)
  • LLB – University of Victoria (1998)
  • LLM – York University, Osgoode Hall Law School (2004)
  • PhD – York University, Osgoode Hall Law School (2013)
  • “Public Law in Indigenous Contexts, Indigenous Law in the Contexts of Public Law” in Paul Daly & Joe Tomlinson, eds, Researching Public Law in Common Law Systems (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2023)
  • “Deciding on the future: First Nations ratification processes, Crown policies, and the making of modern treaties” Chapter 8 in Richard Albert & Richard Stacey, eds, The Limits and Legitimacy of Referendums, (Oxford University Press, 2022).

  • Administrative Law. Cases, Text, and Materials, 8th ed (fourth contributing editor, with Gerald Heckman, Gus van Harten and David J Mullan) (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Ltd, 2022).

  • “Realizing Aboriginal Administrative Law” (first author, with Naiomi Metallic) in Colleen Flood & Paul Daly, eds., Administrative Law in Context, 4th ed (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications, 2021).

  • Modern Treaty Dispute Resolution: Taking Stock and Looking Forward – Final Report (second author, with David V. Wright), August 2020 (available online here).
  • Modern Treaty Implementation & Indigenous Law: An Exploratory Workshop, Summary Report (second author, with David Gill), 11 February 2019 (available online here).

  • “Delegation, deference and difference: In search of a principled approach to implementing and administering Aboriginal rights” (2019) 88 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 137.

  • “The Future of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, (400 word response to a question posed by BarTalk, “Where do you see the Charter going and how do you see it influencing society in the next 35 years?”, with responses also from Debra Parkes (UBC) and Patricia Cochran (UVic)), BarTalk  (1 June 2017).

  • “Treaties in History and Law” (2014) 47 UBC Law Review (special issue: Law on the Edge) 1085-1183. (peer-reviewed)

  • “Irreconcilable? The Duty to Consult and Administrative Decision Makers” (2013) 22 Constitutional Forum constitutionnel 63-78.

  • ’It would only be just’: Territoriality and trading posts along the Mackenzie River, 1800-1827” in Lisa Ford & Tim Rowse, eds, Between Indigenous and Settler Governance (New York: Routledge, 2012) 35-47.

  • “‘Thou wilt not die of hunger ... for I bring thee merchandise’: Consent, Intersocietal Normativity and the Exchange of Food at York Factory, 1682-1763” in Jeremy Webber & Colin Macleod, eds., Between Consenting Peoples:  Political Community and the Meaning of Consent (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010) 77-114.

  • One Chief, Two Chiefs, Red Chiefs, Blue Chiefs: Newcomer Perspectives on Indigenous Leadership in Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territories” in Hamar Foster, Benjamin L. Berger, & A.R. Buck, eds., The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008) 55-76.  

  • Law 100 - Constitutional Law
  • Law 106 - Legal Process
  • Law 301 - Administrative Law
  • Law 301I - Transsystemic Administrative Law (JD/JID program)
  • Advanced Administrative Law
Prof. Promislow is interested in supervising graduate students working on administrative law, constitutional law, Indigenous-Crown treaties and other agreements, and Indigenous-state relations. She’s also interested in supervising students pursuing colonial legal history, Indigenous law research, and particularly welcomes students interested in interdisciplinary research and related research methods.