Sarah Mason-Case

Study program:
Law and International Relations
Current affiliation:
University of Toronto

Sarah Mason-Case (law and international relations, University of Toronto) examines how diverse communities of state and non-state actors, including civil advocates, Indigenous coalitions, and industry, engage in lawmaking practices that define the contours of international climate change law.

Doctoral research

Legality and the Construction of Nature in International Law relating to Climate Change

Sarah Mason-Case's research generally assumes a critical perspective to examine the production of international law relating to climate change in the everyday life of institutions including the United Nations climate regime, World Bank and international human rights system. In that context, her doctoral project considers routine legal practices that adopt, modify and reify expert knowledge about ecological processes underlying climate change. Her focus is on how international law represents and promotes the commonality of the climate problem among all states and peoples - due to complex, material interdependence - through the establishment of international institutions and use of legal techniques. Yet, such 'commoning' reproduces power differentials and distributive consequences, especially between richer and poorer peoples and the Global North and Global South. 

Sarah Mason-Case is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholar. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she will be a Fulbright student at Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy. She similarly visited Melbourne Law School in spring 2019.

From 2010 to 2016, Sarah specialized in law reform practices at domestic and international levels. At the Law Commission of Ontario, she managed projects and made recommendations to government relating to health and social care. At the International Development Law Organization, she led similar reform projects, but on climate change law, in partnership with countries in the Global South, United Nations institutions, and official development assistance agencies. 

Sarah’s current research draws on such experiences to examine what processes of lawmaking to control climate change entail, as a matter of practice. Focusing on the plurality of legal practices in global relations, her work analyzes the social interactions of diverse actors who generate law in their everyday enactments. 

Prior to her current studies, Sarah received an LLM in Environmental Law (McGill University Faculty of Law and School of Environment), a JD (Osgoode Hall Law School), and a BA in Philosophy, Art History and World Religions (McGill University and l’Université Paris-Sorbonne).