Jeremy Webber

Professor Emeritus

Jeremy Webber

Jeremy Webber

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

Jeremy Webber is Professor of Law at the University of Victoria. He has written widely in legal theory, constitutional theory, Indigenous rights, federalism, cultural diversity, and constitutional law in Canada and in relation to other countries (especially Australia). He is the author of Reimagining Canada: Language, Culture, Community and the Canadian Constitution (1994), The Constitution of Canada: A Contextual Analysis (second edition: 2021), and Las gramáticas de la ley: Derecho, pluralismo y justicia (2017).

His current writing continues these themes, now focusing in particular on exploring the principal features of a truly democratic, agonistic, constitutionalism. He also seeks to restore to his work a concern with the law of property and especially economic inequality, in particular the latter’s corrosive effects upon democratic constitutional orders. See “Selected Publications” below for a selection of his principal publications, or click on the link to his curriculum vitae.

Professor Webber was UVic’s Dean of Law from 2013 to 2018. Prior to becoming Dean, Professor Webber held the Canada Research Chair in Law and Society at UVic from 2002 to 2014. He surrendered the chair to serve as Dean of Law. Before coming to UVic, Professor Webber was Dean of Law at the University of Sydney, Australia (1998-2002) and Professor of Law at McGill University (1987-1998). He was appointed a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation in 2009 and a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada in 2016.

Curriculum vitae

  • BA (honours) Political Science – UBC (1980)
  • LLB, BCL (first class honours: Gold medal) – McGill (1984)
  • LLM – Osgoode (1988) Thesis title: Standards of Industrial Justice: Ideology and the Reports of Conciliation Boards under the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, 1907-1925.
  •  For the nature of law generally, Indigenous legal orders, and the work of Lon Fuller: Webber, “The Grammar of Customary Law” (2009) 54 McGill L.J. 579-626.
  • For legal pluralism: Webber, “Legal Pluralism and Human Agency” (2006) 44 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 167-98.
  • For federalism: Webber, “Federalism’s Radical Potential”, (2020) 18(4) International Journal of Constitutional Law: Symposium on Peace Processes & Constitution-Making 1324-49.
  • For federalism, economic inequality, and social rights: Webber, “Frustrations of Federalism, Frustrations of Democracy: Trudeau, Transformative Change, and the Canadian Constitutional Order” (2020) 99 Supreme Court Law Review (2nd series) 101-34.
  • For recognition: Webber, “Recognition in Its Place,” in Daniel Weinstock, Jacob Levy and Jocelyn Maclure, eds, Interpreting Modernity: Essays on the Work of Charles Taylor (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020), 247-64.
  • For toleration and freedom of religion: Webber, “A Two-Level Justification of Religious Toleration” (2012) 4(Winter) Journal of Indian Law and Society 25-53.
  • For sovereignty: Webber, “Contending Sovereignties” in Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, and Nathalie Des Rosiers, eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 281-301.
  • For consent: Webber, “The Meanings of Consent” in Jeremy Webber and Colin Macleod, eds., Between Consenting Peoples:  Political Community and the Meaning of Consent (Vancouver:  UBC Press, 2010), 3-41.
  • For democratic decision-making as the foundational constitutional value: Webber, “Democratic Decision Making as the First Principle of Contemporary Constitutionalism” in Richard W. Bauman and Tsvi Kahana, eds, The Least Examined Branch: The Role of Legislatures in the Constitutional State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 411-30.
  • For adjudication and contested social values: Webber, “A Judicial Ethic for a Pluralistic Age,” in Omid Payrow Shabani, ed. Multiculturalism and Law: A Critical Debate (Cardiff:  University of Wales Press, 2007), 67-100.
  • For the proprietary constitution: Webber & Gover, “Proprietary Constitutionalism” in Mark Tushnet, Thomas Fleiner, and Cheryl Saunders, eds, Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law (New York: Routledge, 2013), 361-74.
  • For transitional justice: “Forms of Transitional Justice” in Melissa S. Williams, Rosemary Nagy, and Jon Elster, eds., NOMOS LI: Transitional Justice (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 98-128.
  • For Carl Schmitt: “National Sovereignty, Migration, and the Tenuous Hold of International Legality: The Resurfacing (and Resubmersion?) of Carl Schmitt,” in Oliver Schmidtke and Saime Ozcurumez, eds., Of States, Rights, and Social Closure:  Governing Migration and Citizenship (New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 61-90.
  • For UVic’s Indigenous law program and McGill’s transsystemic program: Webber, Val Napoleon, Mireille Fournier, and John Borrows, “Sally Engle Merry, Legal Pluralism, and the Radicalization of Comparative Law” (2020) 54 Law and Society Review 846-57.


And in the past Professor Webber has taught the following courses at UVic:
  1. The Grammar of Customary Law 
    Animation on Professor Webber’s research; created by Yianni Pappas-Acreman, Cassandra Paterson, & Stuart McAlister as a winning entry in the SSHRC Storytellers competition, 2014.
    Watch the video.
  1. Pandemic, Populism, and Democracy 
    Professor Webber speaks in CCSLAW Webinar, Centre for Constitutional Studies/Centre d'études constitutionnelles, University of Alberta, 29 April 2021.
    Watch the video.
  1. What Are The Greatest Challenges Populism Poses To Democracy?
    Interview with Professor Webber on EUCAnet at the time of the International Conference on “Constitutionalism in a Populist Age”, University of Victoria, 7 March 2020.
    Watch the video.
  1. We are Still in the Age of Encounter: Indigenous Rights, the Nature of Sovereignty, and Agonistic Constitutionalism
    Lecture, IIHS Bengaluru City Campus, Bengaluru India, 7 July 2018.
    View the video.
  1. The Role of the Sacred in Indigenous Law and Reconciliation
    Announcement by then Dean Webber of the new Indigenous Law Program at the University of Victoria, with Dr Skip Dick of the Songhees First Nation; Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation of British Columbia; and Lectures by Professors John Borrows and Val Napoleon, Ideafest, Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria BC, 8 March 2018.
    View the video.
  1. Strategies of Justice
    Special Seminar, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra Australia, 29 August 2012.
    View the video.
  1. Cultural Differences, Languages, Perspicuous Contrasts, and Recognition 
    Conference on the work of Charles Taylor, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, March 29-30, 2012.
    Watch the video.