Nicole O'Byrne

Associate Professor


Law, Faculty of

Ludlow Hall 222

1 506 451 6887

Research interests

  • Canadian federalism
  • Aboriginal-state relations
  • The history of Medicare
  • Aboriginal Economies and Self-Government
  • Program of Equal Opportunity
  • Evidence


Nicole has a BSc (Queen’s), BA Hons (Regina), LLB (Saskatchewan), LLM (McGill) and a PhD in law (UVic).

Nicole's research focuses on the history of Canadian federalism, public policy history and non-constitutionalized intergovernmental agreements, including the The British North America Act, 1930 (the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements) and Medicare. She has published articles about various aspects of Métis history and is currently writing a book on the history of Métis-state relations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (1870-1970).

She has published two co-authored articles on the history of Medicare and is working on an article about the history of Medicare in Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland. Her research interests also include criminal law and evidence subjects such as criminal libel and the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence. She frequently does print, radio and television interviews with the Canadian Press, CTV Atlantic, CBC New Brunswick, Brunswick News and The Lawyer’s Daily on constitutional topics such as judicial independence and criminal trial process.

Nicole has served in professional executive roles at the national level, including vice-president of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) and president of the Canadian Law and Society Association (CLSA) (president to 2020). She is currently serving her second term as an elected faculty representative of the University of New Brunswick’s Board of Governors.

She is a certified Lean 6 Sigma Champion and has earned a certificate in University Culture and Governance from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers. Prior to joining UNB Law in 2009, she clerked at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and practised law in Saskatchewan.

Courses taught

  • Law 4193 Aboriginal Peoples and Law
  • Law 2243 Evidence
  • Law 1500 Criminal Law
  • Law 3809 Aboriginal Self-Government and Economic Development
  • Law 3810 Advanced Evidence

Current research projects

  1. The State v. Charles LeBlanc: Criminal Libel and the Policing of Dissent
  2. The History of Medicare in Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland
  3. Section 24(2) of the Charter and the Admissibility of Illegally Obtained Evidence
  4. Métis-state Relations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (1870-1970)

Selected publications

O’Byrne, Nicole. “‘No other weapon except organization’: The Métis Association of Alberta and the 1938 Métis Population Betterment Act” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association vol 24, no. 2 (2013): 311-352.

O’Byrne, Nicole. “Through the Grace of God I am the founder of Manitoba’: Louis Riel’s Constitutional Thought.” Hans V. Hansen (ed.) Riel’s Defence: Perspectives on His Speeches. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014, pp. 90-105.

Marchildon, Gregory P. and Nicole O’Byrne. “Last Province Aboard: New Brunswick and National Medicare.” Acadiensis, volume XLII (Winter/Spring 2013): 150-167.

Marchildon, Gregory P. and Nicole C. O’Byrne. “From Bennettcare to Medicare: The Morphing of Medical Care Insurance in British Colombia.” In Making Medicare: New Perspectives on the History of Medicare in Canada, ed. Gregory P. Marchildon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), 2012, pp. 207-228.

O’Byrne, Nicole. “A rather vexed question…’: The Federal-Provincial Debate over the Constitutional Responsibility for Métis Scrip.” The Review of Constitutional Studies, volume 12(2007): 41-79.

Selected media interviews

Toronto Star, “Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear appeal in Dennis Oland Murder case” 13 July 2017 

The National Post, “When Should Convicted Killers be Granted Bail?” 30 October 2016 

Canadian Press, “Three Provinces Seek to Intervene in Oland Bail Appeal” 13 September 2016 

Canadian Press, “Oland Jury Got it Wrong, Lawyer Tells Appeal Court as He Seeks Bail” 12 February 2017 

CBC Radio Fredericton – Supreme Court appointments 19 August 2016 

CBC Radio Saint John – “Supreme Court decision in Oland bail hearing sets precedent” 24 March 2017 

The Lawyer’s Daily, “Fight over N.B. Judicial Residency Could End Up Going to the SCC” 31 January 2017 profile

Detailed CV