Biographical Notes, 2007

Professor T. Brettel Dawson


Brettel Dawson is the Academic Director of the National Judicial Institute of Canada which is based in Ottawa, Canada. She has been associated with the NJI since 1999 when she undertook the role of Coordinator (then Senior Advisor) of Social Context Education. This project has its genesis in a 1994 resolution (updated in 2000) of the Canadian Judicial Council, which approved development of “credible, comprehensive and in-depth education programs on social context issues including gender equity, racial equity and aboriginal justice”. This project has now been made a permanent element of the National Judicial Institute.  


As Academic Director she has a leadership role in areas of curriculum and pedagogy design and ongoing integration of social context (equality and diversity) in the work and programming of the NJI. Also a member of the Senior Management Committee, she has been active in the international program of NJI working with judicial education institutions in Ghana and Philippines.


An Associate Professor of Law at Carleton University in Ottawa, she was Chair of the Department of Law between 1994-1999, a member of the University Senate and between 1987-1998, and a member of the Boards of Inquiry (Ontario Human Rights Code) involving mediations, inquiry and decision on human rights complaints. She was English Language Co-Editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (1991-1992 and 1994-1996) and member of the External Committee of the Independent Policy Research Fund of Status of Women Canada (1997-1999). She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of CANADEM, Canada’s resource database for human rights and democratic development.


Written in the areas of social context judicial education, women and legal process, human rights and legal research methodology, she is completing work on the Guides to Judicial Education (Canada) and a book on social context as an element of judging and judicial education. Her teaching subjects include gender, human rights, judicial process, private law and socio-legal research methodology.


Professor Dawson received her LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada. She was called as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1983. She has lived in Canada since 1983 and is married to a Canadian. She lives in Chelsea Quebec, a rural, pesticide-free municipality 20 minutes away from Ottawa. She holds dual citizenship with Canada and New Zealand.