Picture of  John C. Kleefeld

John C. Kleefeld Associate Professor

218 Law

Research Area(s)

  • Tort law
  • Class actions
  • Dispute resolution
  • Law and humanities
  • Legal education and writing

Professional Education

  • LLM (Osgoode Hall) 2002
  • LLB (British Columbia) 1999
  • BA (Waterloo) 1991


Professor John Kleefeld previously taught at the University of British Columbia, where he directed the Legal Research & Writing Program. He teaches or has taught in the areas of Torts, Civil Procedure, Class Actions, Negotiation & Dispute Resolution, and Legal Research & Writing. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, England, a visiting professor at Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) Guido Carli in Rome, Italy, and an instructor in the Common Law and Transnational Law Program at Université de Sherbrooke and the Osgoode Professional LLM Program. John is the 2012 recipient of the University of Saskatchewan Provost’s Award for Outstanding Innovation in Learning and a 2015 recipient of the Brightspace Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning.

John has a BA in Economics and worked as an economic analyst for Ontario Hydro and British Columbia Hydro before taking up law. After earning his LLB, he practised for eight years with the Vancouver firms of Lawson Lundell LLP and Branch MacMaster, while completing his LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution. He is a member of the Law Societies of British Columbia (non-practising) and Saskatchewan (practising) and an experienced mediator. He has represented clients at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

John's research interests are wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary. His work on apology and the law, for example, reviews legislation that exempts apologies from admissibility into evidence for the purposes of proving liability, and also considers the psychological and sociological research on what makes for effective apologies in a legal context. His interest in creativity and the law resulted in a two-year pilot project with fellow professor Patricia Farnese in which students could obtain credit for completing a creative project in first-year law. This project, which resulted in a wide range of works, from rap songs to sculpture, was profiled by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness. Most recently, he has started working with law students to edit Wikipedia articles on legal subjects so as to enhance the quality of free legal information available on the world’s largest encyclopedia.

Courses Taught

Law 212.6 (Tort Law)
Law 430.3 (Negotiation)

Mass Torts and Class Actions
First-Year Dispute Resolution Program

First-Year Legal Research & Writing Program
Advanced Legal Research
Civil Procedure
Art of the Judgment

Publications and Research Work

“Promoting and protecting apologetic discourse through law—A global survey and critique of apology legislation” (2017) Oñati Socio-Legal Series (forthcoming)
“Book Review—Writing Reasons: A Handbook for Judges, 4th edition by Edward Berry” (2017) 63 McGill Law Journal (forthcoming)

“Standard of Review: The Great Passion of Canadian Law?” (9 November 2016) Slaw.ca Guest Blog.

“Concurrent Fault at 90: A History of Ontario’s Negligence Act and Canada’s Uniform Contributory Fault Act” in Eoin Quill and Raymond J Friel, Damages and Compensation Culture: Comparative Perspectives, Oxford: Hart, 2016) 217-299

“Write a Wikipedia Article for Law School Credit—Really?” (with Katelyn Rattray) (2016) 65 Journal of Legal Education 597

Dispute Resolution: Readings and Case Studies, 4th Edition (Emond, 2015)
"Incorporating a Creative Component in First-Year Law" (with Patricia Farnese) (2015) 6:2 The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: (SoTL through the Lenses of the Arts and Humanities), Article 8.

"The Contributory Negligence Act at Seventy" (2015) 78 Saskatchewan Law Review 31.

"Facets of Fairness: Kidd v Canada Life Assurance Company and the Approval of Class Action Settlements" (2015) 10 The Canadian Class Action Review 33.

“The Donoghue Diaries” (2013) 3 Juridical Review 375

"Book Review—OSCOLA: The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities by Dolan Nolan and Sandra Meredith, eds" (2013) 36 Dalhousie Law Journal 269

“Homo legislativus: Missing Link in the Evolution of ‘Behaviour Modification’?” in Jasminka Kalajdzic, ed, Accessing Justice: Appraising Class Actions Ten Years After Dutton, Hollick & Rumley (LexisNexis Canada, 2011) 169

"Getting Real: Enhancing the Acquisition of Negotiation Skills Through a Simulated Email Transaction" (with Michaela Keet) (2011) 2 Journal of Arbitration and Mediation 23

"From Brouhahas to Brehon Laws: Poetic Impulse in the Law" (2010) 4 Law and Humanities 21

“Book Review—Three Negotiation Books: The Skills and Ethics of Negotiation by Marjorie Benson, The New Lawyer: How Settlement is Transforming the Practice of Law by Julie Macfarlane, and The Theory and Practice of Representative Negotiation by Colleen Hancyz, Trevor Farrow and Frederick Zemans” (2010) 73 Sask. L. Rev. 145

"Book Review — Negotiation: An A-Z Guide" by Gavin Kennedy (2010) 76 Arbitration 187

"Book Review—The Law of Nuisance in Canada by Gregory S. Pun and Margaret I. Hall" (2010) 68 Advocate 767

"Write Me a Memo" (2010) 4 Canadian Legal Education Annual Review 217

"'A Delicate Necessity’: Bruker v. Marcovitz and the Problem of Jewish Divorce” (with A. Kennedy) (2008) 24 Can. J. Fam. L. 205

“Thinking Like a Human: British Columbia’s Apology Act” (2007) 40 U.B.C.L. Rev. 769, rp’d in Dispute Resolution Conference 2008 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2008)

“Book Review—The Modern Cy-Près Doctrine: Applications & Implications by Rachael P. Mulheron" (2007) 4:1 Canadian Class Action Review 203

“Book Review—Pension Law by Ari N. Kaplan” (2006) 64 Advocate 865, rep’d in (2006) 13 Pension Planning 864 as “The Paradox of Pension Law”

“Book Review—The Law of Large-Scale Claims: Product Liability, Mass Torts and Complex Litigation in Canada by Jamie Cassels and Craig Jones” (2006) 39 U.B.C.L. Rev. 233

“Invoking and Participating in Mediation in British Columbia” (with Alex Ning) (2006) 15 Scrivener 30

“Book Review—The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O.J. Simpson by Sadakat Kadri” (2006) 64 Advocate 295

“Boilerplate” (2005)—85 The Dalhousie Review 132

“Resolving Mass Wrongs: A Command-Consensus Perspective” (with A. Srivastava) (2005) 30 Queen’s L.J. 449

“Book Review—Humanizing Our Global Order: Essays in Honour of Ivan Head” (2004) 62 Advocate 933

“Administrative Tribunals and the Constitution: Reclaiming the Grail” (2004) 29 Adv. Q. 54

“Rhyme and Reason (sub nom. The Dreadfulest Thing of All)” (2004) 62 Advocate 351

“Rethinking ‘Like a Lawyer’: An Incrementalist’s Proposal for First Year Curriculum Reform” (2003) 53 J. Legal Educ. 254

“Whiten v. Pilot: Safe Harbour for Punitive Contract Damages?” (with C.E. Jones) (2002) 60 Advocate 507

“Top of the Class: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Endorsement of Class Actions” (Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 2002)

“Class Actions in Canada” (2002) 44:3 For the Defense 60

“ADR and Professional Regulation” in Self-Governing Professions: Regulatory Issues (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2001)

“Class Actions as Alternative Dispute Resolution” (2001) 39 Osgoode Hall L.J. 817

“Settling a Class Action (or How to Wrestle an Octopus)” (with W.K. Branch), Canadian Institute Conference on Litigating Toxic Torts and Other Mass Wrongs (Toronto: December 2000)

“Pinochet and Locobail: English Developments in the Law of Bias” (2000) 58 Advocate 851

“The Business Cases: Corporate Claims Under the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms” (with J. Wiltshire), in Charter Update 1999 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 1999)

“The Charter and Administrative Law: Applicability, Jurisdiction and the Power to Grant Remedies” (with M. Baird), in Charter Update 1999 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 1999)

“Prince Jefri Bolkiah v. KPMG: House of Lords Holds Accountants to Solicitors’ Duty of Confidentiality in ‘Chinese Walls’ Case” (1999) 57 Advocate 223

“Westcoast Energy Inc. v. NEB: Revisiting the Division of Powers Over Transportation, Communication & Resource Development” (1998) 10 N.J.C.L. 69