Photo of Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny

Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny

Assistant Professor

Degrees:LL.L., LL.B. (uOttawa); LL.M. (UBC); PhD (ABD, ongoing at uOttawa)
Office:D586 LA (Loeb Building)
Website:Check my website for more

(any pronouns)

I am a non-binary queer disabled lecturer (tenure-track) in the Department of Law and Legal Studies. I am currently finishing my PhD at the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa where I was a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholar. I am a member of the Law Society of Ontario and practiced law as a sole practitioner in Toronto. I was trained in both common law and civil law, and, as a settler, am a student of Indigenous laws. I am currently the Co-Chair of JusticeTrans, an NGO dedicated to access to justice for trans people in Canada. My professional experiences include working for the federal government, a federal commission of inquiry, the Federal Court, a member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations, and the University of Ottawa (as a part-time law professor). My identity and my past (professional and lived) experiences greatly influence my scholarship, teaching and activism.

Current Research

My research interests include:

  • Ocean and Coastal Law
  • Biodiversity Protection
  • Green theory
  • Political ecology
  • International legal theory
  • Access to justice for trans people
  • Queer theory
  • Critical Legal Theory
  • Administrative law
  • Legal History
  • Discourse Analysis

My current research projects can be roughly divided into three permeable categories. The first relates to the interactions between law and the oceans, particularly marine life. The second encompasses my work on access to justice for trans people in Canada. The last and most recent one explores the legal implications of the Anthropocene.

Marine Biodiversity and the Law

My principal research project studies the structuring effect of growth discourses on the law of the sea from the establishment of the free sea in the 17th century until today. My research relies on Green Legal Theory—a critique of (western) law’s liberal paradigm from an ecological standpoint—and on two critical methodologies: legal history and discourse analysis. My doctoral thesis focuses on the fisheries aspect of this problematique. I intend to subsequently study other aspects of the law of the sea impacting marine biodiversity, including seabed mining, shipping and transport, pollution prevention, habitat/species protection, invasive species, and genetic resources. Embedded in this research is the additional question of how can law help restructure humankind’s relations with oceans in order to equitably safeguard their ecological integrity while satisfying human needs?

With Cameron Jefferies, I am researching cetacean conservation law in Canada. We are identifying the flaws of the current regime and exploring the concept of ecosystem approach. After developing a transformative ecosystem approach for cetaceans and looking at the legal implications of this approach, we will offer some pragmatic reforms to help improve cetacean conservation law in Canada and to start the move towards a transformative marine ecosystem approach.

Trans Access to Justice

I am currently supervising a research project I designed in collaboration with directors and staff at JusticeTrans. The project, which is funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada, aims to better understand Two Spirit and trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people’s access to justice needs across Canada. The data collection phase will be twofold: 1) a pre-screening survey; and 2) a series of focus groups and individual interviews. As a community-based research project, the outcomes will go beyond academic publications and will include various access to justice tools for the trans community and inform the programming and planning of JusticeTrans.

In parallel, Evan Vipond and I are currently developing an access to justice model aimed at addressing external (e.g. socio-economic disenfranchisement) and internal barriers (e.g. cissexism within the law) to access to justice for trans people in Canada. The project theorizes access to justice, surveys the various barriers trans people face in trying to access justice, and proposes changes within our current system that would alleviate some of these barriers.

Anthropocenic Responsibility

In this project, I develop the concept of anthropogenic responsibility. This concept is based on the practical and theoretical implications of the Anthropocene (including its different manifestation, such as the Capitalocene and the Colonialocene). I argue that these implications require us to rethink liberal legal regimes and move towards a legal system that promotes anthropogenic responsabilisation (i.e. the act of becoming responsible). I am looking to study the role of property and appropriation in relation to anthropogenic responsibility, both at the national and international level.

Teaching and Supervision

For the 2021/22 academic year, I am teaching LAWS 3908 (Approaches in Legal Studies II), LAWS 3800 (Law of Environmental Quality) and LAWS 4904 (Advanced Legal Topics: Ocean and Coastal Law). In LAWS 3908, we will look at how to conduct interdisciplinary legal research and explore specific text-based methodologies (e.g. legal history and discourse analysis). LAWS 3800 is an introductory course to environmental law. In it, we will investigate the framework of environmental law, its methods of regulation, and specific examples of environmental legal issues (e.g. pipeline regulations). Finally, LAWS 4904 provides a survey of legal issues related to oceans, seas and coastal zones through various lenses (e.g. legal geography, political economy, Indigenous laws, etc.).

My teaching focuses on compassion and care, and critical thinking; that is, developing the ability to look at legal and social issues in a holistic manner, and to question the status quo, common understandings and assumptions about law and related issues. I am very interested in experiential learning and have thought courses based on this pedagogical approach in the past. I hope to be able to integrate experiential learning in my courses at Carleton in the future.

I supervise undergraduate and graduate students in the following areas:

  • Environmental law & policy
  • Public International Law
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity and the law
  • Legal theory
  • Environmental theory/philosophy
  • Access to justice
  • Legal History
  • Administrative Law

Selected Publications

“Responsibility in End Time: Environmental Harm and the Role of Law in the Anthropocene” in James Gacek & Richard Jochelson, eds, Green Criminology and the Law (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) forthcoming

“To the Anthropocene and Beyond: The Role of Law in Decimating and Protecting Marine Life” (2020) 11:1-2 Transnational Legal Theory 180; reprinted in Emily Webster & Laura Mai, eds, Transnational Environmental Law in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the Role of Law in Times of Planetary Change (Routledge, 2021) 180

“Farming the Sea, a False Solution to a Real Problem: Critical Reflections on Canada’s Aquaculture Regulations” (2019) 50:1 Ottawa Law Review 29 [with Angela Lee]

“Precaution, Sub-delegation and Aquaculture Regulation: Morton v Canada (Fisheries and Oceans)” (2015) 28:1 Journal of Environmental Law & Practice 125