Maureen Duffy

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law


McGill University Faculty of Law (O'Brien Fellow for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism)


McGill University Faculty of Law (Dean's Honours)

JD cum laude

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

BS Journalism

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contact information


Office: 403.220.7113

Web presence



Office : MFH4313


Law 400: Constitutional Law
Law 536: International Criminal Law
Law 667: Advanced Public Law

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Constitutional Law (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia)
  • Criminal Law and Procedure (the United States and Canada)
  • Immigration and Refugee Law
  • National Security Law (the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom)
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law
  • Equality and Employment Discrimination
  • Animal Law


Maureen has broad research interests, including interdisciplinary fields, a wide geographic range, and a number of fields within law. Her research interests span several national jurisdictions, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, and they include constitutional law, immigration and refugee law, criminal law and procedure, and some aspects of national security law, as well as several areas of international law, including international criminal law, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law. She publishes primarily at the intersection of these various areas, currently in the context of migration, political narratives, and human rights. Her book, Detention of Terrorism Suspects: Political Discourse and Fragmented Practices, was published by Hart Publishing, an Imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, and was the 2019 winner of the Hart-SLSA Prize for Early Career Academics in the United Kingdom.

Maureen was previously is a Global Faculty Fellow at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and a Visiting Scholar at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.


Maureen Duffy is originally from the United States, where she was a litigator in Chicago, first in private practice with Rudnick & Wolfe (now DLA Piper), then as a specialist in the area of children's rights. She worked in both the trial and the appellate divisions of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, and later as an administrator/attorney for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Maureen has extensive trial and appellate experience. Before becoming an attorney (and to help pay for law school), Maureen worked as an editor and writer in the publishing field.

Maureen is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen and pursued graduate studies in Canada. She holds a master's and a doctorate in law from McGill University, where she was awarded the O'Brien Fellowship for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship for her doctoral research. During her master's program at McGill, she was a researcher for the McGill Clinic for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. During her doctoral program, she participated, as a Junior Fellow with the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, in the Centre's invited filing of an Amicus Curiae pleading before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, in the "Duch" case. The pleading was later published by the Criminal Law Forum. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Maureen has been an Active Member of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Canada Section (former Vice-President, Prairie Provinces, former member of National Board).



  • Doctoral Dissertation: Turning the Kaleidoscope: Fractured Narratives and Altered Presumption in Anti-Terrorism Detention Practices (published online). Supervisor: Professor René Provost.
  • Master’s Dissertation: The U.S. Immigration Detentions in the War on Terror: Impact on the Rule of Law (published online, Dean’s Honours awarded). Supervisor: The Honourable (then Professor) Patrick Healy.


  • Maureen Duffy, Detention of Terrorism Suspects: Political Discourse and Fragmented Practices (Hart Publishing 2018)(monograph). Recipient of the 2019 Hart SLSA Prize for Early Career Academics  (book details). The book has also been nominated for numerous other awards, including being selected by the Hart Editorial Board for two limited-submission nominations.

Selected Book Chapters

  • Maureen Duffy, “Public policy discourse – anti-terrorism and migration” in Piotr Cap, ed, Handbook of Political Discourse (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2021).
  • Maureen T. Duffy, "When A 'Safe Third Country' Is Not Safe at All,” in Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération (International Commission of Jurists - Canada, 2017).
  • Maureen T. Duffy, “Discourse of the ‘Other’ as a Foundational and Continuing Element of Legal Norms in Anti-Terrorism Measures,” in Gonerko-Frej A., Sokol M., eds, Ideological Battlegrounds – Constructions of Us and Them before and after 9/11. Volume 2: Perspectives in Language (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming 2016).

Selected Law Review Publications

  • Maureen Duffy, “History Repeats and Repeats: The Knee-Jerk Targeting of U.S. Non-Citizens Connected to Predominantly Muslim Countries,” forthcoming 2020.
  • Maureen Duffy, “Wagging the Dog: Feigning Crisis in U.S. Anti-Migration Narratives to Create Crisis” (2019) 5 Journal of Institutional Studies 2.
  • Maureen T. Duffy, “Opening the Door a Crack: Possible Domestic Liability for North American Multinational Corporations for Human-Rights Violations by Subsidiaries Overseas?” 66:1 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 1-22 (Spring 2015).
  • Maureen T. Duffy, “The Slow Creep of Complacency”: Ongoing Challenges for Democracies Seeking to Detain Terrorism Suspects, Pace Int’l L. Rev. Online (Aug. 2010), at 42 (online)
  • Amicus Curiae Brief on Joint Criminal Enterprise in the Matter of the Co-Prosecutors’ Appeal of the Closing Order Against Kaing Guek Eav “Duch” Dated 8 August 2008,” 20 Crim. L. Forum 331 (Spring 2009)(publication of an Amicus Curiae Brief filed, by invitation, before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Case File No: 001/18-07-2007-ECCC/OCIJ (PTC 02))(prepared by René Provost, Payam Akhavan, Frédéric Mégret, Maureen T. Duffy, Carlos Iván Fuentes, Amar Khoday, Melissa Martins Casagrande, Malcolm Dort, Jake Hirsch-Allen, Sophie Tremblay, and Sébastien Jodoin)(after publication of the brief on the ECCC website, the editors of the Criminal Law Forum sought permission to publish it in their journal).
  •  Maureen T. Duffy and René Provost, “Constitutional Canaries and the Elusive Quest to Legitimize Security Detentions in Canada,” 40  Case W. Res. J. Int’l. L. 531 (2009).

Selected Conference Presentations

  • “History Repeats and Repeats: Intentional Erosion of Public Trust in Migration for Political Gain,” Accepted paper for the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) conference “Public Law, (Dis)Trust and Dissent,” University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland, July 2021 (originally scheduled for July 2020 and postponed due to COVID-19).
  • “A Comparative Study of the Stifling of Constitutionally Protected Dissent,” Prepared for the upcoming 11th Annual Constitutional Law Colloquium, Loyola University School of Law, November 2020 (formatting pending because of COVID-19).
  • “Fear of the ‘Other’ and Long-Term Constitutional Erosion,” 10th Annual Constitutional Law Colloquium, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, November 8-9, 2019.
  • “Revising Canada-U.S. Conversations as the U.S. Refugee Climate Erodes,” annual meeting of the Canadian Law and Society Association, Vancouver, BC, June 3-5, 2019.
  • “Immigration and Fear in Global Narratives ,” presented at the annual conference of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, Leeds, UK, April 3-5, 2019.
  • “Political Narratives, States of Emergency, and the (Temporary) Suspension of Constitutional Norms,” Ninth Annual Loyola Constitutional Law Colloquium, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois USA, November 2018.
  • Panel: Violence in Society, “States of Emergency: The Permanent, the Pretextual, and the Implied,” Law and Society Association/Canadian Law and Society Association, Joint Conference, Toronto, June 2018.
  • Panel: Reimagining How We Respond to Security Threats and Radicalization, by invitation, Amnesty International, Conference: LIVING TOGETHER: Understanding Human Rights, Appreciating Diversity and Working Towards Reconciliation, Calgary, 2017 June, panel included Alex Neve, the Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada.
  • “Throw Them Out Or Make Them Stay: Who Is the Terrorist Other?”, “Interdisciplinary Approaches To Security In The Changing World,” Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, June 2015.
  • “Should They Stay or Should They Go? Conflicts in Approaches to Suspected Terrorists Arising from Citizenship Stripping/Deportation versus UN Security Council Resolution 2178,” invited paper to be presented at the Law and Society Association Conference in Seattle, May 2015.
  • Lethbridge International Film Festival, invited panel speaker for the film “The Secret Trial 5,” about five men held in Canada on security certificates.


In 2019, Maureen’s book, Detention of Terrorism Suspects: Political Discourse and Fragmented Practices, received international recognition by being awarded the Hart-SLSA Prize for Early Career Academics in the United Kingdom. Maureen’s book has also been nominated for numerous other local and international awards.

In 2017, Maureen was awarded the University of Calgary Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award for the second time.

In 2015, Maureen was awarded the University of Calgary Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award. The student-driven award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to students in the classroom by exceptional teachers. Maureen has also been nominated multiple times for the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for teaching excellence.

Maureen was an O’Brien Graduate Fellow for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and recipient of the SSHRC Doctoral Award during her doctoral studies at McGill University.