John Kleefeld


Law, Faculty of

Room 104

1 506 453 4701

Research interests

  • tort law
  • class actions
  • dispute resolution
  • law and humanities
  • legal education


John joined UNB as professor and dean of law in July 2017 (serving as dean from 2017–2020). He previously taught at the University of Saskatchewan, where he received the 2012 Provost’s Award for Outstanding Innovation in Learning and the 2015 Brightspace/STLHE Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning. Before that, he was at the University of British Columbia, where he taught for eight years and directed the Legal Research & Writing Program.

He has been a visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, a visiting professor at Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) Guido Carli in Rome, and an instructor in the Common Law and Transnational Law Program at Université de Sherbrooke, the University of Western Ontario. and Osgoode Hall’s Professional LLM Program.

John has an honours BA in economics and was an economic analyst and planner for Ontario Hydro and British Columbia Hydro before taking up law. After completing his degree at UBC, he practiced for eight years with the Vancouver firms of Lawson Lundell and Branch MacMaster, while completing his LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

He is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia (non-practicing), a past member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, and a mediator. He has represented clients at all court levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

John's research interests are wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary. His work on apology and law examines legislation that exempts apologies from admissibility into evidence for the purposes of proving liability, and considers the psychosocial 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 in which students received credit for completing creative projects in first-year law. He has used reflective journals extensively in his courses and developed grading rubrics for assessing them. He has also worked with law students to edit Wikipedia articles on legal subjects to enhance the quality of free legal information available in the world’s largest encyclopedia.

Courses taught

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Torts
  • Foundations of Law
  • Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Canadian National Negotiation Competition
  • Legal research and writing

Selected publications

J. McEvoy and J. Kleefeld, 2020. Judicial Independence and Judicial Place of Residence: A Tale of Two (or More?) Cities. Canadian Bar Review, 98(1): 179–210.

J. Kleefeld and D. Pohler, 2019. Internalizing Cognitive Bias: An Experiential Exercise for Teaching and Learning the Anchoring Effect. Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 28:2, 33-47.

J. Kleefeld, 2017. Review of E. Berry, Writing Reasons: A Handbook for Judges, LexisNexis, 158 pp, 2015. McGill Law Journal, 63:1, 191–199.

J. Kleefeld, 2017. Promoting and Protecting Apologetic Discourse through Law: A Global Survey and Critique of Apology Legislation and Case Law. Oñati Socio-legal Series, 7:3, 455-496.

J. Kleefeld and K. Rattray, 2016. Write a Wikipedia Article for Law School Credit—Really? Journal of Legal Education, 65:3, 597-621.

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

J. Kleefeld, 2015. Editor and co-author, Dispute Resolution: Readings and Case Studies, 4th ed, Toronto: Emond Publishing.

J. Kleefeld and P. Farnese, 2015. Incorporating a Creative Project in First-Year Law. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL through the Lenses of the Arts and Humanities), 6:2, Article 8.

J. Kleefeld, 2013. The Donoghue Diaries: Lord Atkin’s Research Notes in Donoghue v Stevenson. Juridical Review, 3: 375-450.

J. Kleefeld, 2010. Write Me a Memo. Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, 4: 217-228.

Detailed research publications: Among the top 10% of authors on SSRN by total new downloads