About Joseph E. Magnet

Joseph E. Magnet Biographical Information

Joseph Eliot Magnet, F.R.S.C., B.A., LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. is Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. He clerked for Chief Justice Brian Dickson at the Supreme Court of Canada, served as Crown Counsel in Ottawa,Distinguished Visiting Professor, Boalt Hall Law School, University of California, Berkeley, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Tel Aviv University, Visiting Professor, Université de Paris, France, Visiting Professor, University of Haifa, Israel, and Visiting Professor, Central European University, Budapest. He has acted as counsel in more than 200 constitutional cases in the Supreme Court of Canada and the trial and appellate courts of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. He has been advisor to the Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments on constitutional matters, a frequent invited expert before Senate and House of Commons Committees; counsel to individual Senators and Members of the House of Commons; counsel for First Nations, minority groups, corporations and others. He is General Counsel to the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples with responsibility for all constitutional, treaty and Aboriginal rights litigation and Chief Negotiator and Lead Counsel for First Nations in Land Claims Processes. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1998.
Professor Magnet is the author of eighteen books, including:

  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at Twenty Five Years (Butterworths, 2008, forthcoming)
  • Official Languages of Canada: New Essays
  • Litigating Aboriginal Culture
  • Legal Aspects of Aboriginal Business Development
  • Modern Constitutionalism: Identity, Equality and Democracy
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Reflections on the Charter After Twenty Years
  • Aboriginal Rights Litigation
  • Constitutional Law of Canada, 9th Edition, vol. 1 (Federalism and Aboriginal Peoples)
  • Constitutional Law of Canada, 8th Edition, vol. 2 (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
  • Federalism for the Future: Essential Reforms
  • Official Languages of Canada: Perspectives from Law, Policy and the Future
  • Withholding Treatment from Defective Newborn Children
  • One Hundred articles on legal subjects, particularly constitutional law
  • Professor Magnet has lectured widely on constitutional law, in Canada and around the world. He is a regular radio, television and op-ed commentator on legal subjects for the major national media.


Cases Argued

Professor Magnet has been counsel in more than two hundred constitutional, administrative and criminal cases before trial courts, courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. He was lead counsel in the Manitoba Language Rights Reference, the Prostitution Reference, the Bill 101 cases, Canada v. Stephen Marshall, Canada v. Joshua Bernard, Reference re Minority Language Education Rights, Lovelace v. Ontario, R. v. Powley and other cases that hammered out the framework of the modern Canadian Constitution. Several of his facta are available online on this website.
Professor Magnet is Chief Negotiator for Lac Seul First Nation in claims against governments and others for flooding the First Nation’s reserve. Professor Magnet negotiated the Final Agreement for the first ever settlement of any of these claims. The settlement created the most significant pool of capital in the First Nation’s history and conferred on the First Nation scholarships, employment and other benefits for the future. See http://www.opg.com/news/releases/NewsNov16_06.asp.
Professor Magnet is lead counsel for Pikangikum First Nation in its dispute with Canada over contaminated water and other infrastructure. Professor Magnet’s advocacy resulted in a partial settlement of these claims for a package valued at over $65 million.  See  http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/mr/nr/j-a2007/2-2870-eng.asp
Courses Taught by Professor Magnet

  • CML2313 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II – Division of Powers
  • CML1213 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I – Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Previous Courses Taught by Professor Magnet

  • Federalism
  • Comparative Constitutional Law (at University of Haifa, Israel)
  • Comparative Minority Rights (at Tel Aviv University, Israel)
  • Constitutional Theory (at Central European University Budapest)
  • Current Issues in Constitutional law
  • International Protection of Minorities
  • Minority Rights in the Multinational State
  • Administrative Law
  • Supreme Court of Canada Seminar
  • Provincial Criminal Court Seminar

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