Jonnette Watson Hamilton


Faculty of Law


Columbia University, 1992


Dalhousie University, 1978

BA (with Distinction)

University of Alberta, 1974

Contact information


Office: 403.220.7253

Web presence





Office : MFH4335


Law 404: Property
Law 533: Wills & Estates
Law 569: Law and Literature
Law 579: Legal Theory - Property
Law 703: Graduate Seminar in Legal Research and Methodology

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Discourse Analysis
  • Equality Rights
  • Property Law & Theory
  • Access to Justice


After receiving a BA in English from the University of Alberta in 1974 and an LLB from Dalhousie University in 1978, Jonnette practiced law in Wetaskiwin, Alberta with the firm now known as Sirrs LLP. Most of her practice was devoted to family law, commercial law, and dependent adult law. She was also a member of the Alberta Farm Debt Review Board from 1986 to 1991 and mediated disputes between insolvent farmers and their creditors. After attending Columbia Law School in New York City in 1991/92 for her LL.M., Jonnette began teaching in the faculty in the fall of 1992 and has, in the intervening 24 years, taught 21 different law school courses. She also served as Associate Dean (Research) (2001-2004, 2013-2014) and Graduate Program Coordinator (2001-2005).

Jonnette is a founder of and frequent contributor to ABlawg, the faculty's blog on recent developments in Alberta law. Most of her contributions are in the areas of vexatious litigation, residential tenancy law, property law and equality.


  • “Reforming Residential Tenancy Law for Victims of Domestic Violence” (2019) 8 Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research 245-276. Available online.
  • “Equality Rights and Pay Equity: Déjá Vu in the Supreme Court of Canada” (2019) 15 Journal of Law & Equality (forthcoming) (co-authored with Jennifer Koshan). Available online.
  • “Alberta v Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, Women’s Court of Canada” (2018) 30:2 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 292-322 (co-authored with Jennifer Koshan). Available on SSRN.
  • Joshua Sealy-Harrington & Jonnette Watson Hamilton, “Colour as a Discrete Ground of Discrimination” (2018) 7:1 Can J Hum Rts 1-33. Available on the Canadian Journal of Human Rights.
  • "The Role of Choice in Women's Freedom of Religion Claims in Canada" (2017) 36(2) Religious Studies and Theology 171-185 (with Jennifer Koshan). Available on ProQuest.
  • "Kahkewistahaw First Nation v. Taypotat – Whither Section 25 of the Charter?" (2016) 52:2 Constitutional Forum 39-44 (with Jennifer Koshan). Available on SSRN.
  • "Kahkewistahaw First Nation v. Taypotat: An Arbitrary Approach to Discrimination" (2016) 76 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 243-262 (with Jennifer Koshan). Available on SSRN.
  • "Adverse Impact: The Supreme Court's Approach to Adverse Effects Discrimination Under Section 15 of the Charter" (2014) 19:2 Review of Constitutional Studies 191-236 (with Jennifer Koshan). Available on SSRN.
  • "The Recognition of Aboriginal Title and Its Relationship with Settler State Land Titles Systems" (2014) 47:3 UBC L Rev 829, with Nigel Bankes and Sharon Mascher. Available on SSRN.
  • "The Continual Reinvention of Section 15 of the Charter" (2013) 64 University of New Brunswick Law Journal 19 - 53 (with Jennifer Koshan), draft available on SSRN.
  • “Acknowledging and Accommodating Legal Pluralism: An Application to the Draft Nordic Saami Convention” in The Proposed Nordic Saami Convention: National and International Dimensions of Indigenous Property Rights, Nigel Bankes and Timo Koivurova, editors (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2013) 45-78


She received the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007 and again in 2011-2012. She is also a recipient of a 2018 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award for her teaching in Law 404: Property in 2017/2018. The SU award honours commitment to student success and is determined entirely based on student feedback.

Jonnette received the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch/Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award for Legal Scholarship in January 2017. The breadth of her work was noted, spanning property law, property theory, aboriginal rights, equality rights, commercial arbitration, mediation, commercial law, discourse analysis, and more, as were her contributions to the Alberta Law Reform Institute and ABlawg.