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Jocelyn Downie

Professor of Law; Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow; University Research Professor, Faculties of Law and Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Australian Centre for Health Law Research - QUT

Schulich School of Law , Faculty of Medicine , Health Law Institute

Email: jocelyn.downie@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-6883
Mailing Address: 
Room 443, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Health law
  • Health care ethics
  • Health policy
  • Legal ethics
  • Physician-assisted dying


  • BA (Queen's)
  • MA (Queen's)
  • MLitt (Cambridge)
  • LLB (Toronto)
  • LLM (Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • SJD (Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Bar admission

Nova Scotia, 2000


Jocelyn Downie teaches health care ethics and law in the law school and health law in the medical school. She also teaches legal ethics and professional responsibility in the law school.

  • Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility (LAWS 2099)
  • Health Care Ethics and the Law (LAWS 2115)

Areas of supervision: Health law and policy, legal ethics

Research interests

Jocelyn Downie works at the intersection of health care ethics, law and policy.  She has particular interest in assisted death, the governance of research involving humans, relational theory, and women's health.

Selected awards & honours

  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy (2003-13)
  • Canadian Association of Law Teachers Award (2008)
  • IWK Health Centre Research Centre of Excellence Scholar Award (2003-08)
  • Abbyann D. Lynch Medal in Bioethics, Royal Society of Canada (2005)
  • Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation Award of Excellence in Medical Research (2003)

Selected publications

  • Jon Thompson, Patricia Baird & Jocelyn Downie, The Olivieri Report: The Complete Text of the Report of the Independent Inquiry Commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (Toronto: James Lorimer & Co, 2001).
  • Jocelyn Downie, Dying Justice: A Case for Decriminalizing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2004).
  • Jocelyn Downie, Timothy Caulfield, & Colleen Flood, eds, Canadian Health Law and Policy, 4th  ed (Toronto: Butterworths, 2011). (3rd edition, 2007; 2nd edition 2002; 1st edition 1999)
  • Jocelyn Downie & Jennifer Llewellyn, eds, Being Relational: Reflections on Relational Theory and Health Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011).
  • Richard Devlin & Jocelyn Downie, "Public Interest Vocationalism: A Way Forward for Legal Education in Canada" in Fiona Westwood & Karen Barton, eds, The Calling of Law (Milton Park: Ashgate Publishing, 2013).

Service & activity

  • Member, Board of Directors, Surdna Foundation (2007-present)
  • Member, Provincial Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying (2015)    
  • Member, End of Life Experts Panel, Royal Society of Canada (2009-2011)