Hilary Young

Associate Professor

Law, Faculty of

Ludlow Hall 205


1 506 451 6819

Research interests

  • defamation law
  • tort law
  • health law
  • remedies
  • privacy law


Hilary joined UNB Law in 2012. After clerking for Justice Louis LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada, she was a civil litigator at Cox & Palmer in Halifax. She has an international reputation as a defamation law scholar and also has expertise in torts and health law. Her research has been cited by the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She is one of the authors of Linden, Feldthusen, Hall, Knutsen & Young, Canadian Tort Law 11th ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2018). Hilary organized the 2019 Canadian Obligations Conference, hosted by UNB Law in May 2019.

She obtained her LLB at the University of Ottawa, where she won the Gold Medal, and then an LLM from Harvard Law School. Before going to law school, she earned a doctorate in linguistics from Rice University.

Courses taught

  • Torts
  • Remedies
  • Health Law
  • Defamation and Privacy Law
  • Advanced Torts

Research projects

Recent research projects include an empirical investigation of Canadian defamation actions. That work showed that damages in cases from 2003-2013 were more than double those from 1973-83, even when adjusted for inflation. It also identified a very low rate of liability and higher rates of liability where the defendant is a journalist.

Hilary is working with the Law Commission of Ontario on its defamation law reform project. In addition to being a member of the Advisory Committee, she was commissioned (along with Emily Laidlaw of the University of Calgary) to write a report on internet intermediary liability in defamation. The work examines what responsibility intermediaries like Google, Facebook or Twitter have for user-generated defamatory content under current law, and what changes should be made to better reflect blameworthiness and protect free speech.

Hilary has a SSHRC-funded project on the publication element of defamation. In addition to considering internet intermediary liability, she is examining the multiple publication and repetition rules.

Hilary’s work on “Rasouli consent” – the need for consent to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment – was cited by the Supreme Court in Cuthbertson v. Rasouli, [2013] 3 SCR 341.

Selected publications

Hilary Young (ed), The Canadian Law of Obligations and Access to Justice (forthcoming, Toronto: LexisNexis, 2020).

Hilary Young and Emily Laidlaw, “Creating a Revenge Porn Tort”, forthcoming in Hilary Young, ed., The Canadian Law of Obligations and Access to Justice (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2020).

Hilary Young, “Reynolds v Times Newspapers” in David Rolph, ed., Landmark Cases in Defamation Law (London: Hart Publishing, 2019).

Emily Laidlaw and Hilary Young, “Internet Intermediary Liability in Defamation” (2019) 56 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 112–161.

Allen Linden, Bruce Feldthusen, Margaret Hall, Erik Knutsen & Hilary Young, Canadian Tort Law 11th ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2018).

Hilary Young, “Responsible Communication and Protection of Public Participation: Assessing Canada’s Newest Public Interest Speech Protections” (2018) 47:2 Southwestern Law Review 385–416.

Hilary Young, “The Canadian Defamation Action: An Empirical Study” (2017) 95:3 Canadian Bar Review 591–630.

Hilary Young, “A Proposal for Access to Treatment Contrary to Clinical Judgment in Canada and the United Kingdom” (2017) 11:2 McGill Journal of Law & Health 158.

Hilary Young, “Public Body Defamation Actions” (2016) 39 Dalhousie Law Journal 249287.

Hilary Young, “‘Anyone… in Any Medium’?: The Scope of Canada’s Responsible Communication Defence” in Comparative Defamation and Privacy Law, Andrew Kenyon, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) 1739.

Hilary Young, “Cuthbertson v. Rasouli: Continued Confusion over Consent-based Entitlements to Life Support” (2015) 52 University of Alberta Law Review 745760.

Hilary Young, “Adding Insult to Injury in Assessing Damages for Corporate Defamation” (2013) 21:3 Tort Law Review 127–150.

Hilary Young, “Rethinking Canadian Defamation Law as Applied to Corporate Plaintiffs” (2013) 46:2 University of British Columbia Law Review 529–588.

Hilary Young, “Why Withdrawing Life Support Should Not Require “Rasouli Consent”, (2012) 6:2 McGill Journal of Law & Health 54104.

Hilary Young, “But Names Won’t Necessarily Hurt Me: Considering the Effect of Disparaging Statements on Reputation” (2011) 37 Queen’s Law Journal 137.

Hilary Young, “Unconscious Decisions: JA and the Legal Status of Advance Consent to Unconscious Sex” (2010) 14:3 Canadian Criminal Law Review 273306.

Detailed research publications

Detailed CV