Richard Devlin, FRSC

Professor of Law

Phone: 902-494-1014
Mailing Address: 
Room 430, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Contracts
  • Critical Theory
  • Jurisprudence
  • Regulation Theory


  • LLB (Queen's University, Belfast)
  • LLM (Queen's University, Kingston)


Richard Devlin is a Professor of Law at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.  In 2005, he was appointed a Dalhousie University Research Professor, and this position was renewed in 2010.  His areas of teaching include Contracts, Jurisprudence, Legal Ethics and Graduate Studies.  He has published widely in various journals, nationally and internationally.  Some of his books include editing Critical Disability Theory, Lawyers’ Ethics and Professional Regulation (3rd ed. 2017) and Regulating Judges: Beyond Independence and accountability (2017).  In 2003, and again in 2010, he received the Hanna and Harold Barnett Award for Excellence in Teaching First Year.  In 2008 he was a recipient of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Award for Academic Excellence.  In 2013 he won Dalhousie University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning “Change One Thing Challenge”.  He has been involved in the design, development and delivery of Judicial Education programmes in Canada and abroad for more than 20 years.  In 2012 he agreed to serve as the Founding President of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics, and in 2016 became Chair of the Board of Directors. In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.



  • LAWS 1000: Contracts & Judicial Decision-Making
  • LAWS 1008: Introduction to Ethics and Professionalim 
  • LAWS 1009: Aboriginal and Indigenous Law in Context (co-facilitator; 2017-2018)
  • LAWS 2099: Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility 
  • LAWS 3000: Graduate Seminar 

Areas of supervision: Contracts, jurisprudence, legal ethics, judicial ethics, regulation of legal professions, legal education

Research interests

Professor Devlin's current research interests focus on legal theory, legal ethics, judicial ethics, regulation of the legal profession, and contract law.

Selected awards & honours

  • 2019 - Class of 1967 Teaching Excellence Award (co-recipient). 
  • 2015 -  Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2013 - "Change One Thing" Award, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Dalhouse University
  • 2012-13 - Chief Justice of Ontario Fellowship in Ethics and Professionalism
  • 2005-15 - University Research Professor
  • 2009-10 - Hanna and Harold Barnett Award for Excellence in Teaching First Year Law
  • 2008 - Canadian Association of Law Teachers' Award for Academic Excellence
  • 2002-03 - Hanna and Harold Barnett Award for Excellence in Teaching First Year Law

Selected publications

  • Richard Devlin & Adam Dodek, eds, Regulating Judges: Beyond Independence and Accountability (Edward Elgar, 2016) [forthcoming].
  • Richard Devlin, "Dirty Laundry: Judicial Appointments in Canada" in Hugh Corder & Jan Van Zyl Smit, eds, Securing Judicial Independence: The Role of Commissions in Selecting Judges in the Commonwealth (Cape Town: Siber Ink, 2016) [forthcoming].
  • Richard Devlin, B. Cotter & C. Jackson, "Of Lawyers and Lodestars: Embedding the Duty of Loyalty in the Model Code of Conduct" (2016) Dal LJ.
  • Richard Devlin, "Born in Faith, Continued in Determination: B.A. (Rocky) Jones and the Egalitarian Practice of Law" in A. Dodek & A. Woolley, eds, In Search of the Ethical Lawyer: Stories from the Canadian Legal Profession (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016) 81.
  • Richard Devlin, "Bend or Break: Enhancing the Responsibilities of Law Societies to Improve Access to Justice" (2015) 38(1) Man LJ 1.
  • Richard Devlin & Jocelyn Downie, "Teaching 'Professionalism in the Public Interest': Law as a Case Study" in Irene Wienzock, ed, Educating Professionals - Ethics and Judgement in a Changing Learning Environment (Toronto: Canadian Professional Accountants Association, 2014).
  • Alice Woolley et al, eds, Lawyers' Ethics and Professional Regulation, 2nd ed (Toronto: Lexis-Nexis, 2012).
  • Richard Devlin & Dianne Pothier, eds, Critical Disability Theory: Essays in Philosophy, Politics, Policy and Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005).
  • Richard Devlin, ed, Canadian Perspectives on Legal Theory (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 1990).
  • Richard Devlin & Brent Cotter, “Three Strikes and You’re Out … Maybe … Maybe Not!: A Comment on Wallace v. CN Railway" (2013) 92 Can Bar Rev 123.
  • Richard Devlin & Jocelyn Downie, “Public Interest Vocationalism: A Way Forward for Legal Education in Canada” in F. Westwood, ed, The Calling of Law (Ashgate, 2014) 85.
  • Richard Devlin & David Layton, “Culturally Incompetent Counsel and the Trial Level Judge: A Legal and Ethical Analysis” (2014) 60 CLQ 360.
  • Richard Devlin & Ora Morison, “Access to Justice and the Ethics and Politics of Alternative Business Structures” (2012) 91 Can Bar Rev 483.

Service & activity

  • Director, International Commision of Jurists – Canada
  • Chair, Canadian Association for Legal Ethics
  • Member, Code Committee, Nova Scotia Barristers' Society
  • President, Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (2012-2015)
  • Consultant, National Judicial Institute
  • Member, International Association for Legal Ethics
  • Member, Editorial Board, Canadian Legal Education Annual Review
  • Member, Editorial Board, Legal Ethics