Dr. Michael Nesbitt, SJD

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law


University of Toronto, 2013


New York University School of Law, 2005


University of Ottawa, 2004

BA (Hons) - Commerce

Queen's University, 2001

Contact information


Office: 403.220.2204

Web presence




Office : MFH4314


Law 410: Crime
Law 507: Evidence
Law 696: National Security Lab

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Criminal Law
  • National Security Law


Michael researches primarily in the areas of criminal law, national security law, and international organizations and human rights law. His specific focus is on the legality and efficiency of the processes and procedures of bodies within or created by governments – such as commissions of inquiry or specific government departments – that are involved in the investigation, evaluation or criminalization of wrongdoing. His current projects include exploring the development, implementation, and execution of national security law and the relationships between the actors involved in these processes.


Michael teaches and researches in the areas of criminal law, national security law, and international organizations and human rights. He engages regularly with the media on his areas of research, including writing comments for the Globe & Mail and the National Post, providing TV and radio interviews for the CBC, CTV, and other local, national and international broadcasters, and interviews with local and national newspapers and legal publications. Before joining the Faculty of Law in July 2015 he practiced law and worked on Middle East policy, human rights, international sanctions and terrorism for Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs. Previously, he completed his articles and worked for Canada's Department of Justice, where his focus was criminal law. Michael has also worked internationally for the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Appeals Chamber.

While completing his doctorate Michael was a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Scholar, executive editorial assistant to the University of Toronto Law Journal, and taught in the legal research and writing program.



  • Nesbitt, Michael, An Empirical Study of Terrorism Charges and Terrorism Trials in Canada between September 2001 and September 2018 (January 30, 2019). Forthcoming, Criminal Law Quarterly. (view online)
  • Nesbitt, Michael and Hagg, Dana, Prosecuting Terrorism in Canada: Elucidating the Elements of the Offences (January 30, 2019). Alberta Law Review, Forthcoming 2019. (view online)
  • Nesbitt, Michael and Oxoby, Robert J. and Potier, Meagan, Terrorism Sentencing Decisions in Canada since 2001: Shifting away from the fundamental principle and towards cognitive biases (December 16, 2018). UBC Law Review (2019), Forthcoming. (view online)
  • Nesbitt, Michael, Re-Purposing UN Commissions of Inquiry (August 1, 2017). Journal of International Law and International Relations (JILIR), Volume 13, No. 2. (view online)
  • Nesbitt, Michael, Canada's 'Unilateral' Sanctions Regime under Review: Extraterritoriality, Human Rights, Due Process, and Enforcement in Canada's Special Economic Measures Act (February 27, 2017). Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2017-06. (view online)
  • Michael Nesbitt, "Due Process in UN Commissions of Inquiry: A legal analysis of the procedures of Goldstone's Gaza Inquiry" 18 German Law Journal No. 1 (2017). (view online)
  • Nesbitt, Michael, CSIS's New Disruptive Powers, Grey Holes, & the Rule of Law in Canada, Canadian Human Rights Yearbook, No. 1 (2015).
  • Michael Nesbitt, "(Re-) Mapping the Congo, Circa 2010" (2010) 4:2 Rights Review 3.
  • Michael Nesbitt, "Lessons from the Sam Hinga Norman Decision of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: How Trials and Truth Commissions Can Co-Exist" (2007) 8 German Law Journal 969. (view online)
  • Michael Nesbitt, "The World Bank and De Facto Governments: A Critique of its Operational Policy and a Call for Transparency" (2007) 32 Queen's Law Journal 641.


  • Panel member, "Counter-extremism in Canada and abroad," Philippe Kirsch Institute on October 26, 2017, Toronto.
  • Panel member, "Carding in Calgary: How Police Check-Ups Occur in Calgary and Why?", Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association on June 27, 2016, Calgary.