Jennifer Chandler


Jennifer Chandler
Associate Professor

B.Sc. (University of Western Ontario)
LL.B. (Queen's University)
LL.M. (Harvard)
Member of the Bar of Ontario

Room: Room BRS 329
Bureau: (613) 562-5800 ext. 3286
Courriel professionnel:

Jennifer Chandler


Jennifer Chandler joined the Faculty of Law in 2002, after practising law with a national firm and serving as a law clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada.  

She recently completed her sabbatical as a Visiting Associate Professor at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore.

She is the Co-Chair of the Law and Ethics Group within the Canadian National Transplant Research Program.  She is also a Member of the Ethics Working Group on Organ Transplantation, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario. 

Courses Taught:

In 2014-2015, Professor Chandler is teaching Mental Health Law and Neuroethics, as well as Tort Law.  She will also be conducting research in relation to organ donation and transplantation as the holder of the 2012-2014 James Kreppner Fellowship (Canadian Blood Services).

She also teaches Medical Legal Issues.  In the past, she has taught a graduate level course called "Technoprudence," which addresses technology and legal theory. 

Graduate Students

Professor Chandler welcomes communication from excellent students seeking to pursue graduate studies in law in the following areas:

  • Mind, Brain and Law (neuroscience and the law, neuroethics, mental health law (civil, criminal and human rights aspects)
  • Organ donation and transplantation, regenerative medicine (legal and ethical aspects) 

"Mind Brain and Law" Reading Group

Professor Chandler holds a reading group for a small number of dedicated students interested in ethico-legal questions raised by emerging research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioural genetics, as well as issues in mental health law.  The group meets approximately for about 1.5-2 hours every 2 weeks to discuss journal articles selected by the group. Members need not have a scientific background (typically about one third of members have such a background), but should have a high level of interest in exploring the ethical, social and legal aspects of the sciences of the mind.  Interested students should contact Professor Chandler at


Professor Chandler's research is focused on the law and ethics of neuroscience and other advances in biology and medicine. She is currently working on the following projects:  

  • Law and memory:  The law and ethics of detecting and manipulating memory.
  • The use of neuroscientific and behavioural genetic evidence in Canadian courts.
  • The law and ethics of legally-coerced consent to medical treatment in the context of criminal rehabilitation.
  • Autonomy, capacity-enhancing medical treatment, and the legal scope of personal responsibility for incapacity.
  • Death determination criteria, public understanding of brain death.
  • Family decision-making around end of life and organ donation.

Selected Publications (Publication List 2013

Mind, Brain and Law

  • Jennifer A. Chandler, "The use of neuroscientific evidence in Canadian criminal proceedings," (submitted, 2014)
  • Jennifer A. Chandler and Adam Dodek, "Cognitive enhancement in the courtroom:  What can we learn about the ethics of pharmacological cognitive enhancement by looking at judicial cognition?" (submitted, 2014)
  • Jennifer A. Chandler, "Mind, Brain and Law:  Issues at the intersection of Neuroscience, Personal Identity and the Legal System," (invited chapter, forthcoming 2014, Handbook of Neuroethics, Springer).
  • Michael Purcell, Jennifer A. Chandler, J. Paul Fedoroff, "The use of phallometric evidence in Canadian criminal law" (forthcoming, Journal of the American Association of Psychiatry and Law, 2015).
  • Jennifer A. Chandler, "Legally-coerced consent to treatment in the criminal justice system" in Holmes, Perron and Jacob eds. Power and the Psychiatric Apparatus:  Repression, Transformation and Assistance (Ashgate Publishing, 2014).
  • Jennifer A. Chandler, Alexandra Mogyoros, Tristana Martin Rubio and Eric Racine, "A second look at the legal and ethical consequences of pharmacological memory dampening:  The case of sexual assault" (2013) 41(4) Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 859-871.
  • Jennifer A. Chandler, "Autonomy and the Unintended Legal Consequences of Emerging Neurotherapies," (2011) Neuroethics DOI:10.1007/s12152-011-9109-5. 
Neuroethics Journal Version
SSRN Version
  • Jennifer A. Chandler, “Reading the Judicial Mind: How will courts react to the use of neuroimaging technologies fordetecting deception?” (2010) 33(1) Dalhousie Law Journal 85-116.
    SSRN Version

    Organ Donation and Transplantation - Law and Ethics

    • Jennifer A. Chandler and Matthew Connors, "Effective requesting in organ donation:  A review of the literature 2000-2013" (expert report prepared for Canadian Blood Services, 2013, 104 pp.)
    • J. Burkell, J.A. Chandler and S.D.Shemie, "Attitudes toward reciprocity systems for organ donation and allocation for transplantation," (2013) Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law DOI 10.1215/03616878-2334674.
    • Jennifer A. Chandler, Jacquelyn Burkell and Sam D. Shemie "Priority in organ allocation to previously registered donors:  Public perceptions of the fairness and effectiveness of priority systems," (2012) 22(4) Progress in Transplantation 413-422.
    • S.D. Shemie, L. Hornby, J. Chandler, P. Nickerson, J. Burkell, "Lifetime probabilities of needing an organ transplant versus donating an organ after death," (2011) 11(10) American Journal of Transplantation 2085-2092.
    • Jennifer A. Chandler, "Priority systems in the allocation of organs for transplant:  Should we reward those who have previously agreed to donate?" (2005) 13 Health Law Journal 99-138.

    Regulation of Scientific Inquiry - Stem Cells, Cloning

    •  Jennifer A. Chandler, "Does a patient have a constitutional right to freedom of medical research?  Regenerative medicine and therapeutic cloning research in Canada," (2012) 6(2) McGill Journal of Law and Health 1-53.
    • A. Zarzeczny et al. "iPS Cells: Mapping the Policy Issues," (2009) 139(6) Cell 1032-1037.
    • Ian Kerr, Jennifer Chandler and Timothy Caulfield, "Emerging Health Technologies," in Downie, Caulfield and Flood Eds. Canadian Health Law and Policy 4th ed. Toronto:  LexisNexis Canada, 2011.

    Philosophy of Technology

    • Eric Racine, Tristana Martin Rubio, Jennifer Chandler, Cynthia Forlini, Jayne Lucke, "The value and pitfalls of speculation about science and technology in bioethics:  The case of cognitive enhancement" (2014 Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy DOI 10.1007/s11019-013-9539-4.
    •  Jennifer A. Chandler, "Obligatory technologies:  Explaining why people feel compelled to use certain technologies," (2012) 32(4) Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 255-264. (This is a modified version of the following article, prepared at the request of the Bulletin). 
    • Jennifer A Chandler, "Obligatory technologies and the autonomy of patients in biomedical ethics" (2011) 20(4) Griffith Law Review 905-930.
    • Jennifer A. Chandler, "Technological self-defense and equality" (2010) 56(1) McGill Law Journal 39-76.
    • Jennifer A. Chandler, "The autonomy of technology:  Do courts control technology or do they just legitimize its social acceptance?" (2007) 27(5) Bulletin of Science TEchnology and Society 339-348.


    Upcoming Presentations:  

    • Invited speaker at "Emerging Ethical and Legal Challenges in Chronic Neurological Conditions," Cleveland Clinic Neuroethics Program, at the 23rd Annual International Epilepsy Symposia, October 8-9, 2014.
    • Invited speaker, at the Dalhousie Health Law Institute Health Law and Policy Seminar Series, Halifax, November 21, 2014.
    • Invited speaker, at Law and Neuroscience conference, Swansea University, Wales, 11-12 December, 2014.


    Recent Presentations (selected): 

    Mind, Brain and Law 

    • "The law and ethics of memory dampening treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder" (29th World Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology, Vancouver, June 22-26, 2014)
    • "The impact of neuroscience ont he law, Responsibility to maintain mental capacity for responsibility" (Invited presentation at the Cambridge-ICM Neuroethics Network, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere, Paris, June 19-20, 2014)
    • "Cognitive enhancement and judges" (International Workshop in Practical Ethics:  Bioethics and Human Enhancement, University of Granada, Spain, June 16-17, 2014).
    • "Chronic pain, "psychogenic pain," and emotion" (Invited presentation at Imaging Brains, Changing Minds: Chronic Pain Neuroimaging and the Law, University of Maryland, Baltimore April 24-25, 2014).
    • "Human rights, interests and consciousness:  Covert awareness in brain damaged patients" (Technology, Law and the Public Interest, Regulating Technology for the Common Good, Hong Kong University, April 10-11, 2014).
    • "Coerced metamorphosis:  Consent to rehabilitative treatment in criminal law" (Invited presentation, Brain Matters, National Core for Neuroethics, UBC, March 13-15, 2014).
    • "Deep brain stimulation:  Neurosecurity and side effects" (Invisible Harms:  A Global Perspective, University of Pennsylvania, November 2013, Philadelphia).
    • "Public reactions to media reports of the use of fMRI to communicate with Scott Routley, a Canadian in a persistent vegetative state" (poster, Annual Meeting of the International Neuroethics Society, November, 2013, San Diego).
    • "Are we our brains?  Three suggested legal consequences of neuroessentialism" (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC, October, 2013, Vancouver) Public presentation available here.
    • "Law and Capacity:  Challenges to the Law from Neuroscience" (Ottawa Hospital, May 2013, Ottawa).
      • "Behavioural Genetics and Criminal Law" (Centre for Law, Technology and Society, March, 2013, Ottawa).
      • "Memory-dampening treatment for PTSD" (Queen's University, March, 2013, Kingston).
      • "Rewiring Offenders:  Criminal Law and Emerging Neuroscience" (University of Saskatchewan, November 2012, Saskatoon).
      • "Neuroscientific evidence in Canadian criminal cases:  2005-2010) (European Association of Neuroscience and the Law, September 2012, The Hague).
      • "Neurolaw and neuroethics:  Issues at the intersection of law and neuroscience" (Institute for Science, Society and Policy, May 2012, Ottawa).
      • "Legally-coerced consent to neurotherapies" (University of British Columbia, March 2012, Vancouver)
      • "Emerging Issues:  Deep brain stimulation and the neuroscience of behaviour" (National Judicial Institute, March 2012, Vancouver)
      • "Legal implications of deep brain stimulation" (Cologne, February 2012) 
      End of life decision-making, organ donation
      • "Who decides when a life is no longer worth living?  Discusion of Rasouli v. Sunnybrook" (University of Ottawa, November 2012, Ottawa)
      • "Between life and death - How does determining the time of death affect the ethics of organ donation"(Cafe Scientifique, February 2012, Ottawa)
      • "Reciprocity systems in organ donation" (Singapore Medico-Legal Society, July 2011, Singapore) 

      Fields of Interest

      • Legal and Social Aspects of Advances in Neuroscience
      • Neuroethics
      • Organ Donation and Transplantation
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