College of Law

Research Area(s)

  • Administrative law
  • Administration of justice
  • Bio-ethics
  • Human rights
  • Jurisprudence & legal theory
  • Criminal law
  • Sexual assault law and policy
  • Evidence from a multi-disciplinary & comparative law perspective
  • Comparative Law

Professional Education

LLM (Yale) 1980
LLB (Queen's) 1977
PhD (McGill) 1973, Phenomenology/Legal Philosophy/Theory of Knowledge
MA (McGill) 1970, Phenomenology/Ethics
BA (Bryn Mawr) 1968, English Literature and Philosophy (Hons)


Dr. Lucinda Vandervort (PhD) teaches law and writes at the intersection of law and philosophy and is currently working on a book on sexual consent and the rule of law. Her research focuses on “legitecture,” defined by her as a discipline---distinct from both jurisprudence and public administration---that examines and theorizes the design and operation of legal institutions. Recent projects have dealt with access to justice, social justice, gender violence, sexual assault and the rule of law, police and prosecutorial decision-making, and the design of mechanisms to regulate the exercise of discretion in the legal system. Her work has been funded by grants from the Foundation for Legal Research, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the President’s SSHRC Research Fund, the Borden Ladner Gervais Research Fellowship program, and the College of Law Endowment Fund.

Her PhD work at McGill University and in Bonn, FDR, on legal philosophy and theory of knowledge, was supervised by Raymond Klibansky and supported by a JW McConnell Fellowship. She later earned an LLM at Yale and then taught as an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York (Albany)(1980-1982). As a law student and articling/bar admission student (1974-1979), she continued to teach and write, teaching philosophy courses at Carleton and Concordia on ethics, phenomenology, and existentialism, and at the University of Ottawa on law and philosophy. She also worked as a research consultant for Health and Welfare Canada and the Criminal Law and Administrative Law Projects of the Law Reform Commission of Canada. She articled in Ottawa in criminal law and with the Regulated Industries Board of the Consumer’s Association of Canada, and is a non-practicing, non-fee paying member of the Ontario Bar (admitted April 1979). In the 1980s she appeared as counsel, often pro bono, in a number of cases before the Federal Courts on behalf of federal prisoners in Saskatchewan. Tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1987, she went to Harvard as a Visiting Scholar, 1988 to 1991.

As a member (1996-2002) of the National Legal Committee (NLC) of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), she participated in LEAF’s strategic litigation program under sections 15 and 28 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and collaborated on the intervener factums in a number of cases in the Supreme Court of Canada, including Whitley & Mowers (1994), R.D.S. (1997), Winnipeg Child and Family Services (1997), Ewanchuk (1999), J.G. (1999), Mills (1999), Darrach (2000), and Shearing (2001). Her legal and philosophical writings are cited by academics and law reformers in Canada and internationally. Her analyses of sexual assault law, consent, theory of criminal responsibility, and mistake of law are cited, quoted, and applied in a number of judgments by the Supreme Court of Canada and other levels of Court in various provinces. She was promoted to Professor in 2005.

Courses Taught

Administrative law
Administration of justice
Jurisprudence & legal theory
Criminal law
Sexual assault law and policy

Publications and Research Work

Dr. Vandervort's Philpeople profile.

For selected publications see or Google Scholar citations. 

Dissertations and theses

Lucinda Vandervort, sub. nom. Lucinda Ann Vandervort Brettler, 1970.  The Function of Wertfühlen in Scheler's Theory of Value.  M.A. Thesis, McGill University, 120 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, sub. nom. Lucinda Ann Vandervort Brettler, 1973.  The Phenomenology of Adolf Reinach:  Chapters in the Theory of Knowledge and Legal Philosophy.  Ph.D. dissertation, McGill University, 266 pp.


Lucinda Vandervort, 1979.  Political Control of Independent Administrative Agencies. Study Paper, Administrative Law Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, 190 pp. 

Book Chapters

Lucinda Vandervort, “Legal Subversion of the Criminal Justice Process? Judicial, Prosecutorial and Police Discretion in Edmondson, Kindrat and Brown, Chapter 6, in Elizabeth Sheehy, ed, Sexual Assault in Canada: Law, Legal Practice & Women’s Activism, (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2012) at pp. 113-153.

Lucinda Vandervort,  “'To Codify or Not to Codify the Principles of Criminal Responsibility: A Question of Fundamental Justice and Equality” in Don Stuart, Ron Delisle, and Allan Manson, ed, Towards a Clear and Just Criminal Law:  A Criminal Reports Forum,  (Toronto:  Carswell, 1999) at pp. 231-242.

Lucinda Vandervort, "Empirical Uncertainty and Legal Decision-Making" in MAN, LAW AND MODERN FORMS OF LIFE, Eugenio Bulygin, Jean Louis Gardies, Ilkka Nilniluoto, eds., with an introduction by Michael D. Bayles, volume 1, Law and Philosophy Library, (Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing, 1985) pp. 251-261.


“Flaming Misogyny or Blindly Zealous Enforcement? The Bizarre Case of R v George (2019) 42:3 Manitoba Law Journal, Special Issue, Criminal Law Edition (Robson Crim) 1-38.

'Reasonable Steps': Amending Section 273.2 to Reflect the Jurisprudence”(2019) 66:4 Criminal Law Quarterly 376-387.

“The Prejudicial Effects of 'Reasonable Steps' in Analysis of Mens Rea and Sexual Consent: Two Solutions” (2018) 55:4 Alberta Law Review 933-970. 

Vandervort , Lucinda, "HIV, Fraud, Non-Disclosure, Consent and a Stark Choice: Mabior or Sexual Autonomy?" (2013) 60(2) Criminal Law Quarterly 301-320.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Sexual Consent as Voluntary Agreement: Tales of 'Seduction' or Questions of Law?” (January, 2013) 16(1) New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal  143-201.

Lucinda Vandervort. “Affirmative Sexual Consent in Canadian Law, Jurisprudence, and Legal Theory” (2012) 23(2) Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 395-442. 

Lucinda Vandervort, “'Too Young to Sell Me Sex!?' Mens Rea, Mistake of Fact, Reckless Exploitation, and the Underage Sex Worker” (2012) 58 (3/4) Criminal Law Quarterly 355-378.    

Lucinda Vandervort, “Access to Justice and the Public Interest in the Administration of Justice” (2012) 63 University of New Brunswick Law 124-144.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Reproductive Choice: Screening Policy and Access to the Means of Reproduction” (2006) 28(2) Human Rights Quarterly 438-464.

Lucinda Vandervort, “The Defence of Belief in Consent: Guidelines and Jury Instructions for Application of Criminal Code Section 265(4)” (2005) 50(4) Criminal Law Quarterly 441-452.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Sexual Assault: Availability of the Defence of Belief in Consent” (2005) 84(1) Canadian Bar Review 89-105.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Honest Beliefs, Credible Lies, and Culpable Awareness: Rhetoric, Inequality, and Mens Rea in Sexual Assault (2004) 42(4) Osgoode Hall L.J. 625-660.

Lucinda Vandervort,  “Self-Defence in Criminal Law and Related Aspects of the Administration of Criminal Justice: an Equality Rights Perspective” Report on the LEAF Consultation on Self-Defence held November 17, 2001, prepared for the Women’s Legal Action and Education Fund (LEAF), February, 13 pp.  Final report as adopted and published at

Lucinda Vandervort, “Mistake of Law and Obstruction of Justice: A 'Bad Excuse' ... Even for a Lawyer!” (2002) 50 University of New Brunswick Law Journal  171-186. See also "Errata, 2002" 51 U.N.B.L.J., 309-310; and in French: (2002) 51 R.D.U.N.-B., 309-310.   

Lucinda Vandervort, 2000.  Submission to the Department of Justice, Canada, on “Reform of the Criminal Code Defence of Provocation And Related Aspects of the Law on Sentencing” prepared on behalf of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, August, 47 pp. 

Lucinda Vandervort, “Consent and the Criminal Law” (1990) 28(2) Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 485‑500.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Mistake of Law and Sexual Assault: Consent and Mens Rea(1987-1988) 2(2) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 233‑309.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Social Justice in the Modern Regulatory State: Duress, Necessity and the Consensual Model in Law” (1987) 6 Law and Philosophy, 205‑225.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Enforcing the Sexual Assault Laws: An Agenda for Action (1985) 13(4) Resources for Feminist Research, 44‑45.

Lucinda Vandervort, “The Lawyer Client Relationship in Ontario: Use and Abuse of the Authority to Act” (1984) 16 Ottawa Law Review, 526‑564.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Equal Liability for Child Maintenance: The Income Tax Implications” Reports of Family Law (2d) (1983) XXX, 315‑326.

Lucinda Vandervort, “Legal Aspects of the Medical Treatment of Penitentiary Inmates” (1977) 3 Queen's Law Journal, 368‑423.

Lucinda Vandervort, sub. nom. L.V. Brettler, “Blumberg on 'Moral Criticism'” Mind, New Series, Vol. 84, No. 336 (Oct., 1975), pp. 579‑582.

Book reviews

Common Sense and Legal Judgment: Community Knowledge, Political Power, and Rhetorical Practice” by Patricia Cochran (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017),” (2019) 31(2) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 427-429. 

Marriage by Force? Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa, edited by Annie Bunting, Benjamin N Lawrance, and Richard L Roberts,” (2017) 29(2) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 431-438.

Lucinda Vandervort, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice by Michael Plaxton, Book Review, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 2016 28:3, 697-702.

Lucinda Vandervort, Book Review - Michael Plaxton, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice. (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015.  Date of review: July 28, 2016.  Forth-coming in Canadian Journal of Women and the Law.  Available at SSRN:

Lucinda Vandervort, sub. nom. Lucinda Vandervort Brettler, 1975.  “Review of Phenomenology and the Social Sciences,” Dialogue, XIV, 714‑718, M. Natanson, (ed.)

Opinion pieces

Lucinda Vandervort, 2014. “Swarthmore Sex Scandals Reveal the Pernicious Effects of the Myth that Quaker Colleges and Schools are Egalitarian Rape-Free Zones,”  Friends Journal: Quaker Life and Thought Today,  September,  2014, 20-21. 

Lucinda Vandervort, 2007.  “Appeal shocking verdict in Kindrat case,” Special to The Star Phoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, April 20, 2007.


Lucinda Vandervort (trans.), sub. nom. Lucinda Vandervort Brettler, E. Husserl, "Adolf Reinach," (1975) xxxv Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 571‑574.

Selected unpublished papers & reports 

December 2019. “An end to evasion: Acknowledging the key impediments to a sustainable egalitarian social and legal order---Eurocentric concepts of property, jurisdiction, and sovereignty.” Prepared for the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado, May 28-31, 2020.  Meeting cancelled.

June 2019.  “Consent in 21st century Canada:  Theory, implementation, and the hegemony problem---a case study on the agency and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and women.” Delivered at the Linking Generations for Global Justice RCSL-IISL International Joint Congress held at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Spain, in June 2019.  8,450 words. Certificate issued.           

May 2019. “Consent in 21st century Canada:  Theory, implementation, and the hegemony problem---a case study on Indigenous peoples and women.”  Delivered in a workshop at the PhiloSOPHIA 2019 conference held May 9-12, 2019 at Memorial University, St. John’s Newfoundland.

Reader/Critic in the 2013 Author Meets Reader/Critic session on Sally Kenney, Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter (Routledge, 2012) at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass., May 30, 2013.

“Framing the debate about prosecutorial discretion: legality, fraternity, human rights, and the ‘public interest’?” Paper presented at the International Legal Ethics Conference, Banff, Alberta, July 2012.

“Using legitecture to control ‘implicit bias’.” Paper delivered at the International Conference on Law and Society, June 7, 2012, in Honolulu, Hawai’i, in a session on “Reframing Feminist Legal Theory” for the Collaborative research network on Feminist Legal Theory.

Lucinda Vandervort, 2010.  “Mistaken Belief in Consent:  Dealing with Theories of Fabrication.” May 5, 2010, Edmonton, Alberta; Invited Speaker, Alberta Prosecutor’s conference, May 3-6, 2010, organized and sponsored by Department of Justice, Alberta.

Lucinda Vandervort, 2010. “Equality and Challenges in the Enforcement of Sexual Assault Law.” Saskatoon Sexual Assault Centre, Invited Speaker, May 7, 2010, examination of the significance of selected legal issues for enforcement of the sexual assault laws in a manner consistent with equality principles.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1998, “Legal Limits on the Availability of the Defence of Belief in Consent: Law, Fact, and Myth in Sexual Assault under section 265(4),” Circulated paper, 52 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1994, "Pappajohn's Legacy and 'Mistaken' Belief: A Doctrinal Framework for the 'Air of Reality' Test."  Draft article, circulated, 43 pp.  Annotated/Discussed in S. Boyd & E. Sheehy, “Canadian Feminist Literature on Law: An Annotated Bibliography,” (1999) 11 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1-604 at 98.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1993.  "Recklessness, Wilful Blindness and the 'Defence' of Honest Belief." Circulated paper, January, 64 pp.  Annotated/Discussed in S. Boyd & E. Sheehy, “Canadian Feminist Literature on Law: An Annotated Bibliography,” (1999) 11 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1-604 at 148.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1993.  "Jurisprudential Lessons from the Trenches:  Tax Treatment of Child Support in Canada."  Conference on Feminist Legal Theory, Columbia Law School, New York City, June, 12 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1992.  "Pappajohn No. 2:  Mock Judgment by Noname, J."  Developed in 1993 paper on recklessness, wilful blindness, and honest belief, March, 49 pp. text, plus notes.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1992.  Feminist Perspective on Police Powers. Study Paper, Criminal Procedure Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, March 30, final draft, 55 pp.  Annotated/Discussed in S. Boyd & E. Sheehy, “Canadian Feminist Literature on Law: An Annotated Bibliography,” (1999) 11 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1-604 at 98.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1990.  Research Grant Application (SSHRC), "Legal representation and democratic theory:  a postmodernist/feminist perspective," October.   (Awarded: 1991-1997.)

Lucinda Vandervort, 1989.  Research Grant Application (SSHRC).  "Mistakes of Fact and Law:  The Cognitive, Normative and Political Meaning and Significance of the Distinction," October. (Awarded contingent on availability of funds: 1990-1991).

Lucinda Vandervort, 1983.  The Institutionalized's Rights Office:  Proposal for the Development and Implementation of a System to Deliver Legal Services to Persons Living in Custodial Institutions in Saskatchewan (draft).  Ad‑Hoc Organizing Committee on Institutional Legal Services, Saskatchewan, May, 14 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1981.  Changing Persons? Draft Working Paper on Behavior Alteration and Human Subject Research. Protection of Life Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, 201 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1979.  An Outline of Issues in Criminal Law Raised by Genetic Engineering.  Protection of Life Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, 8 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1979.  Critique of the Draft Working Paper on Legal Regulation of the Use of Behavior Modification Techniques.  Protection of Life Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, 10 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1979.  Allocation of Health Care Resources: A Research Proposal.  Protection of Life Project, Law Reform Commission of Canada, 12 pp.

Lucinda Vandervort, 1975.  Contraceptives and the Law.  Prepared on contract for Health and Welfare Canada, 159 pp. 

A selection of L. Vandervort’s publications are available for download in pdf format at and at