David Matyas

Assistant Professor

Law, Faculty of

Room 218


1 506 451 6800

Research interests

  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Disasters
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Public International Law

David Matyas is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of New Brunswick and Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge and Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, where he is completing his PhD.

David's research focuses on the laws of humanitarian assistance and disaster law. His research draws on mixed-method approaches to put doctrinal analysis in conversation with practitioner perspectives. His writing has appeared in journals such as International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly, Disasters, and Canadian Public Policy, as well as popular sources like The Globe and Mail, Maclean's magazine, and the Ottawa Citizen.

Before being called to the bar (Law Society of Ontario 2020), David worked as an aid worker, with placements in London, UK, Niamey, Niger, and Dakar Senegal, where his work focussed on disaster risk reduction. He holds degrees from McMaster University (BASc), the University of Oxford (MPhil Development Studies), and McGill University (BCL/LLB), where he was the Elizabeth Torrance gold medalist. As a student he clerked for The Honourable Justice Yves-Marie Morissette at the Quebec Court of Appeal and upon graduation he clerked for The Honourable Rosalie Abella at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Selected publications

Akhavan, P, and D. Matyas, 2022 International Criminal Justice in the Context of Fragile States: The ICC Self-Referral Debate. Human Rights Quarterly 44(2): 233-256.

Matyas, D., P. Wills and B. Dewitt, 2022 Imagining Resilient Courts: From Covid to the Future of Canada’s Court System. Canadian Public Policy 48(1): 186-208.

Matyas, D., 2021 Giovanni Mantilla, Lawmaking Under Pressure: International Humanitarian Law and Internal Armed Conflict (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, 2020), ISBN 9781501752582, 264 pp, USD 42.95. Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies 12, 361-369.

Matyas, D., 2021. Towards a Legal Toolkit for Disaster Resilience & Transformation. Disasters 45(2): 453-476.

Matyas, D., 2020. Humanitarian Access in Non-International Armed Conflicts: Can Agency Law Help Remedy the Consent Bottleneck? International Comparative Law Quarterly 69(2): 451-497.

Akhavan, P., S. Ashraph, B. Barzani and D. Matyas, 2020. What Justice for the Yazidi Genocide: Voices from Below. Human Rights Quarterly 42(1): 1-47.

Therrien, M-C., S Usher and D. Matyas, 2020. Enabling Strategies and Impeding Factors to Urban Resilience Implementation: A Scoping Review. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. 28(1): 83-102.

Matyas, D, 2018. Short Circuit: A Failing Technology for Administering Justice in Nunavut. The Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 35: 379-400.

Pelling, M., K. O’Brien and D. Matyas, 2015. Adaptation and Transformation. Climatic Change. 133(1): 113-127.

Matyas, D. and M. Pelling, 2015. Positioning Resilience in the Post-2015 Disaster Risk Management Policy Landscape: Integrating Resistance, Persistence and Transformation. Disasters 39(1): 1-18.

Magazine, newspaper and blog

Akhavan P. and D. Matyas, 2023. A Federal Human Rights "Moon Shot"? Reviewing Alex Neve's Closing the Implementation Gap. PKI Global Justice Journal.

Matyas, D., 2023. Paddington Bear and the Secretary of State. Opinio Juris.

Matyas, D., 2022. The Unconscious Lightness of Play: On Research and International Law. Opinio Juris.

Matyas, D., 2022. Humanitarian Corridors in Ukraine: Impasse, Ploy, or Passage of Hope? Just Security.

Matyas, D., 2021. The Nationality and Borders Bill: Closing Space for Humanitarian Aid at Sea. EJIL: Talk!

S. Halwani, S. Hennig, D. Matyas and J. Opolsky, 2021. Opinion: As her Former Clerks, Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella’s Legacy is Deeply Personal. The Globe and Mail.

Matyas, D., P. Akhavan, S. Ashraph and B. Barzani, 2020. Beyond the ICC: Repositioning the Core of International Accountability. Just Security.

Matyas, D., 2020 The Tigrayan Conflict and the Laws of Humanitarian Assistance. Opinio Juris.

Matyas, D. and M Dance, 2018. Political Decision-Making is Speeding Up, and That’s Bad for Democracy. Maclean’s Magazine.

Matyas, D. and M Dance, 2016. Hunger Strike Shows the Ugly Underbelly of How Canada Treats Migrants. The Ottawa Citizen.