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University of Toronto names new dean for Faculty of Law

Thursday, December 03, 2020 @ 9:33 AM | By John Chunn

The University of Toronto announced that international and environmental law scholar Jutta Brunnée has been named dean of the Faculty of Law for a five-year term starting Jan. 1.

According to the university’s press release, Brunnée brings to the role years of senior leadership at the university, having previously served as interim dean of the Faculty of Law and associate dean of graduate studies. Her many accomplishments include being invited to teach a course at the Hague Academy of International Law and being elected to the renowned Institut de droit international based in Geneva.

Brunnée will succeed dean Edward Iacobucci, who in February announced his intention to step down at the end of this year. She plans to build on the faculty’s initiatives for inclusive excellence, citing her experience as interim dean of the law school.

“It gave me a really good sense of how important it is to talk to people, listen to people and build support for what you’re hoping to do,” she said in the press release.

Brunnée has written more than 100 articles, book chapters and reviews and has authored, co-authored or edited seven books, including the 2017 textbook International Climate Change Law, which was awarded a certificate of merit by the American Society of International Law.

As the faculty’s associate dean of graduate studies, Brunnée helped launch the Global Professional Master of Law Program, a course of study tailored toward executives — lawyers and non-lawyers alike — with a focus on business law, Canadian law in a global context and other streams. Brunnée also helped revitalize the June Callwood scholarship program for Indigenous graduate students, which is named after the journalist, author and activist dubbed “Canada’s Conscience” for her advocacy related to homelessness, drug addiction and other social issues.

Cheryl Regehr, U of T’s vice-president and provost, said Brunnée possesses the qualities necessary to ensure the faculty’s continued success as one the world’s top law schools.

“Professor Brunnée is known globally for her influential contributions to public international law, environmental law and international legal theory,” Regehr said in the press release. “At U of T, she is also known for her leadership and commitment to fostering inclusivity, community and excellence.

“I can’t think of a more qualified person to lead the Faculty of Law now and into the future.”

Brunnée arrived at U of T’s Faculty of Law in 2000 after teaching at McGill University and the University of British Columbia. Originally from Germany, she holds a law degree and doctorate in law from Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in Mainz and a master of laws degree from Dalhousie University.

Iacobucci, meantime, will step down as dean of the law school on Dec. 31 to devote more time to research and teaching after leading the faculty since 2015. His many accomplishments include: a successful fundraising campaign with a focus on student experience and financial aid; expanded co-curricular programming, including fostering leadership development opportunities and paid summer internships; and growing the Global Professional Master of Law Program.

He also expanded student mental health services within the faculty, boosted student financial aid and launched the Black Future Lawyers program for undergraduate students intent on pursuing a legal career.