Peter A Allard School of Law

Carol Liao

Associate Professor; Director of the Centre for Business Law
UBC Sauder Distinguished Scholar; Principal Co-Investigator, Canada Climate Law Initiative
B.A. (Honours) (Queen’s); LL.B. (UBC); LL.M. (UBC); Ph.D./S.J.D. (Joint Degree) (UBC/University of Toronto) Member of the New York Bar



Dr. Carol Liao is Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Business Law at UBC Allard School of Law. She is also the UBC Sauder Distinguished Scholar of the Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at the UBC Sauder School of Business, and Principal Co-Investigator of the Canada Climate Law InitiativeHer research focuses on corporate law and sustainability, climate governance, gender and racial justice. She is the recipient of the 2021 Influential Women in Business Award from Business in Vancouver, the 2022 Women of the Year Award (Equity and Inclusion Champion) from BCBusiness Magazine and was named as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network.

Dr. Liao is the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC IG project studying the evolution of Canadian and international corporate legal principles from an environmental, social and economic sustainability lens. She is the editor of two 2022 books, Corporate Law and Sustainability from the Next Generation of Lawyers (McGill-Queen's University Press) and Innovating Business for Sustainability: Regulatory Approaches in the Anthropocene (with Drs. Beate Sjåfjell and Aikaterini Argyrou, Edward Elgar). She is also the editor of two forthcoming books, Research Handbook on Sustainability and Corporate Accountability (specially commissioned, Edward Elgar) and Contemporary Theories on Corporate Law and Corporate Governance  (both with Dr. Beate Sjåfjell, University of Oslo). She has delivered over 150 invited talks around the world on sustainable business and has been cited over 75 times in news media on corporate governance, ESG and equity issues.

As Director of the Centre for Business Law, Dr. Liao leads an interdisciplinary research hub that also oversees two experiential learning programs at Allard Law, the RBS Business Law Clinic and NRF Corporate Counsel Externship. She is a member of two UBC research clusters: the Future Minerals Working Group and Decision Insights for Business & Society. She is a member of the Solicitors' Legal Opinions Committee of British Columbia. She is also a longtime member of the Themis International Network of Women Business Scholars, editorial board member of the International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal, and a past Bertram Scholar of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Since 2016, Dr. Liao has provided workshops on anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership to corporate and non-profit boards with her industry partner, Shona McGlashan. She is on the advisory committee of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) BC and is featured in the FACL BC documentary But I Look Like a Lawyer (screened at the 26th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival). She was a member of the Employment Equity Working Group of the BC Human Rights Commission from 2021-2023. Dr. Liao was keynote speaker at the 43rd Annual Women in Law Dinner (transcript) and FACL BC 10th Anniversary Gala. She sits on the board of the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre - Museum of Migration Society, an anti-racist museum dedicated to broadening the collective memories of historically marginalized groups in the Pacific Northwest. She was on the organizing committee of the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism and is a steering committee member of the new Centre for Asian Canadian Research Engagement (ACRE) at UBC.

Prior to UBC, Dr. Liao was a faculty member at the University of Victoria where she received the Law Students’ Society First Year Class Teaching Award. She was a finalist in the 2021 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in Education, Training and Development. 

Prior to academia, Dr. Liao was a senior associate in the New York Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP, where she represented public and private multinational corporations in a variety of transactional and governance matters. On behalf of the firm, she also served as a legal researcher for the Office of the Prosecutor on location at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, and was featured in the New York Law Journal for her pro bono asylum work. 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)

Centre for Business Law



Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Carol Liao, "'The Next 10 Years': Keynote Address on the 10th Anniversary of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC" (2023) UBC Law Review, forthcoming.
  • Carol Liao, "An Anti-Racist Feminist Agenda for Sustainable Corporate Law" in Christopher Bruner and Marc Moore, eds, A Research Agenda for Corporate Law (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2023).
  • Carol Liao, "B Corporation, Benefit Corporation, and Neoliberal Greenwash: The Private American Branding Attempt to Globally Capture the Definition and Regulation of 'Good' Business" (2023) International Academy of Comparative Law, forthcoming. 
    • Carol Liao, “A Canadian Model of Corporate Governance” (2014) 37:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 559.
        • Reprinted in Corporate and Financial Law: Interdisciplinary Approaches eJournal, James A. Fanto and Lawrence E. Mitchell, eds, Vol. 9, No. 60 (5 December 2013). 
        • Originally the 2013 Robert Bertram Award Report, Canadian Foundation for Governance Research (November 2013).
        • Ranked first on the list of All Time Top Papers in the Corporate Governance Network's eLibrary on Canada by the Social Science Research Network.

      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


      Organization Affiliations

      • Centre for Asian Legal Studies
      • Centre for Business Law
      • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies
      • Centre for Law and the Environment

      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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