Peter A Allard School of Law

Carol Liao

Associate Professor & UBC Sauder Distinguished Fellow
Chair, Canada Climate Law Initiative
B.A.H (Queen’s); LL.B. LL.M. (UBC); Ph.D./S.J.D. (Joint Degree) (UBC/University of Toronto)



Dr. Carol Liao is an Associate Professor at Allard Law and the UBC Sauder Distinguished Fellow of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at the UBC Sauder School of Business. Her research focuses on corporate law and sustainability, climate governance, and social justice. She is the Chair and Principal Co-Investigator of the Canada Climate Law Initiative, a national research centre advancing director knowledge on the latest in climate science, climate risk disclosures, and fiduciary obligations.  

Dr. Liao has delivered over 175 invited talks around the world on sustainable business and has been featured and cited over 100 times in TV, radio, and news media on corporate governance, ESG, and equity issues. As Director of the Centre for Business Law from 2019-2023, she hosted over 125 professional and scholarly events on range of contemporary business topics. She is Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Insight Grant-funded empirical study on sustainable corporate governance and a UBC research excellence cluster member of the Future Minerals Initiative and Decision Insights for Business & Society

Dr. Liao is the recipient of the BIV Influential Women in Business Award, BCBusiness Women of the Year Award (Equity and Inclusion Champion), TELUS Community Service Award, Canada's Clean50 Award, and was named as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network

Committed to community-engaged scholarship, Dr. Liao is featured in the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) BC documentary But I Look Like a Lawyer, and sits on the FACL BC Advisory Committee. She delivered the closing keynote at the 43rd Annual Women in Law Dinner (transcript) and FACL BC 10th Anniversary Gala (transcript). Dr. Liao is a member of the Solicitors' Legal Opinions Committee of BC and serves on the Advisory Council for BCBusiness. She also serves as a director on the boards of the YWCA Metro Vancouver, Pacific Canada Heritage Centre - Museum of Migration Society, and the Canadian Foundation for Governance Research at the Institute of Corporate Directors. At UBC, Dr. Liao is a Steering Committee member of the Climate Solutions Research Collective and an Advisory Board member of The Phil Lind Initiative.

Before joining UBC, Dr. Liao was a faculty member at the University of Victoria where she received the UVic Law Students’ Society First Year Class Teaching Award. Prior to academia, she was a senior associate in the New York Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP (now A&O Shearman), where she represented public and private multinational corporations in a variety of transactional and governance matters. She also served at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She is a former judicial clerk of the BC Court of Appeal.


  • Business Organizations (LAW 459 / 506D)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law (LAW 306D)
  • Contract Law (LAW 211)
  • Topics in Corporate Law (LAW 467D)



Selected Articles and Chapters

Opinion Editorials

For Dr. Liao's publications available on SSRN, go here.

Selected publications are also listed on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database

Carol Liao

Research Interests

  • Business, corporate and commercial law
  • Environmental law, natural resources, and climate change
  • Feminist legal studies
  • Law and social justice
  • Legal ethics and the legal profession

What are – and what should be – the fundamental principles driving the development of corporate law and governance in light of climate change and other environmental, social, and economic sustainability risks?

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