Faculty Colloquium Series: Deliberative Democracy & Public Authority

Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 12:30 to 13:45

Fasken Classroom (122)

The Allard School of Law Faculty Colloquium Series features research talks and discussions by invited speakers and faculty members.

Title: Deliberative Democracy & Public Authority

Theories of deliberative democracy emphasize deliberative or reasoned decision-making as a necessary and central part of any democracy. As deliberative democracy has come to dominate political theory, legal scholars have begun to elaborate how deliberative democratic ideals and legal norms and principles are mutually informing. This proposed Faculty Colloquium session, entitled “Deliberative Democracy & Public Authority,” combines four papers that investigate how the law-deliberative democracy interface constitutes public authority in constitutional, municipal, environmental and planning law. 

  • The first paper examines federalism-related rationales, grounded in theories of deliberative democracy, for providing cities with a protected status.
  • The second paper analyses the foundational cases in public law, beginning in the Victorian era until now, to illuminate the concept of democratic authority with an eye to exploring what implications a more modern approach would have for cities and municipalities in Canadian public law.
  • The third paper elaborates the connections between deliberative democratic theory and the common law doctrines of fairness and the duty to consult in order to draw out the specific substantive content of the seemingly “procedural” nature of environmental assessment laws in Canada. 
  • The fourth paper argues that the decision by Waterfront Toronto, a tri-governmental corporation, to create a smart city along Toronto’s long-neglected waterfront was beyond the public body’s legal powers.

Each panelist will take 7-10 minutes to set out the key themes of their paper. The remaining time (30-45 minutes) will be spent responding to questions.


Speakers: Alexandra Flynn, Hoi Kong, Mary Liston & Jocelyn Stacey

ALEXANDRA FLYNN is an Assistant Professor specializing in urban law and governance. Her current project explores Indigenous-municipal legal relationships.
HOI KONG is the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., UBC Professor in Constitutional Law. He researches broadly in the fields of constitutional and public law and co-directs the Deliberative Governance and Law Project
MARY LISTON is an Assistant Professor who specializes in administrative law, comparative public law, legal theory, and law and literature. She has written about participatory democracy in Canadian public law and a current research project examines the legal construction and treatment of democratic authorities in Canadian administrative law. 
JOCELYN STACY is an Assistant Professor whose work focuses on the intersections between public law and environmental issues. She writes about the rule of law and how its requirements can respond to our ever-present vulnerability to environmental disaster.

Please see the event poster here.