Peter A Allard School of Law

Joel Bakan

Professor (on sabbatical)
B.A. (Simon Fraser) 1981, B.A. (Juris.) (Oxford) 1983, LL.B. (Dalhousie) 1984, LL.M. (Harvard) 1987


Joel Bakan writes and researches in the areas of Constitutional Law, socio-legal studies, legal theory and economic law. He has law degrees from Oxford, Dalhousie, and Harvard. He studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and served as Law Clerk in 1985 for Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada  He joined the Law Faculty in 1990 as Associate Professor after a year's visit from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he had been Assistant Professor since 1987.  Professor Bakan teaches Constitutional Law, Contracts, socio-legal courses and the graduate seminar.  

Professor Bakan’s scholarly work includes Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs(University of Toronto Press, 1997), as well as textbooks, edited collections, and numerous articles in leading legal and social science journals. In 2003, he published The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power,which received critical acclaim, was widely translated, and became a bestseller in several countries. The book inspired a feature documentary film, written by Professor Bakan and co-created with Mark Achbar. The film, also widely translated, won numerous awards, including best foreign documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2011, Professor Bakan published Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children, which also was widely translated and won awards.

Bakan’s new book and film, The New Corporation: How ‘Good’ Corporations are Bad for Democracy will be released in September, 2020.

In addition to awards for his books and film, Professor Bakan is a two-time winner of the Faculty of Law's Teaching Excellence Award, a recipient of a UBC Killam Research Prize, and, in 2004, received the honour of being named British Columbia's Academic of the Year, a province-wide award for which academics in all disciplines are eligible.


  • Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997)
  • The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004)
  • The Corporation (documentary film) (2004)
  • Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children (Penguin, 2011)
  • The Invisible Hand of Law: Private Regulation and the Rule of Law (2015 - 48:2 Cornell Int'l L J)

Publications listed on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database.

Joel Bakan Profile

Research Interests

  • Jurisprudence, legal theory, and critical studies
  • Law and society
  • Public and constitutional law

What are the social and environmental consequences of the legal form of modern business corporation?

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