Matthew Hennigar

Department Chair
Associate Professor, Political Science

BA Honours (Acadia)
MA (Calgary)
PhD (McGill)

Office: Plaza 351
905-688-5550 x4474


Matthew Hennigar’s research and teaching focus on the legal and institutional dimensions of Canadian and Comparative politics, in particular the judiciary’s organization and impact on public policy, rights litigation, constitutional politics, and the Canadian government’s legal bureaucracy. His recent and on-going research projects focus on criminal justice policies (including medical assistance in dying, gun control, marijuana legalization, and youth criminal justice) and government litigation under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He is also a founding member of the Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice program at Brock.

Area of specialization:

  • Canadian and Comparative Politics
  • Law, Courts, and Politics
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • Rights Litigation
  • Attorneys General
  • Aiming to Explain: Theories of Policy Change and Canadian Gun Control (with Timothy Heinmiller), Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022.
  • “The Most Important Charter Right? The Rise and Future of Section 7,” in Constitutional Crossroads: Reflections on Charter Rights, Reconciliation, and ChangeKate Puddister & Emmett Macfarlane, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2022.
  • Carter Conflicts: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Impact on Medical Assistance in Dying Policy,” (with Eleni Nicolaides) in Policy Change, Courts, and the Canadian Constitution, Emmett Macfarlane, ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018.
  • “Unreasonable Disagreement? Judicial-Executive Exchanges about Charter Reasonableness in the Harper Era,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal 54: 4 (2017): 1245-74.
  • “Degenerative Politics and Youth Criminal Justice Policy in Canada,” (with Timothy Heinmiller and Sandra Kopec) Politics & Policy 45: 3 (2017): 405–31.
  • “The Judiciary: Law, Politics, and Courts,” in Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science, 5th edition, Christopher Anderson & Rand Dyck, eds. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2016.
  • Canadian Courts: Law, Politics, and Process, 2nd edition (with Lori Hausegger & Troy Riddell). Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • “Righteous Litigation: An Examination of Christian Conservative Interest Group Litigation Before the Appellate Courts of Canada, 1982-2009,” (with Chance Minnett Watchel) In Modern Canada: 1945 to the Present. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • “Does Patronage Matter? Connecting Influences on Judicial Appointments with Judicial Decision Making” (with Lori Hausegger & Troy Riddell). Canadian Journal of Political Science 46:3 (September 2013): 665-90. *Nominated for 2014 John McMenemy Prize for best article published in Canadian Journal of Political Science*
  • “Evaluating Federally Appointed Judges in Canada: Analyzing the Controversy” (with Troy Riddell & Lori Hausegger). Osgoode Hall Law Journal 50:2 (Fall 2012): 403-27.
  • “The Canadian Charter of Rights and the Minister of Justice: Weak-form Review within a Constitutional Charter of Rights” (with James B. Kelly). International Journal of Constitutional Law 10(1)(2012): 35-68.
  • “Exploring Complex Judicial–Executive Interaction: Federal Government Concessions in Charter of Rights Cases.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 43:4 (December 2010): 821-42.
  • “Exploring the Links Between Party and Appointment: Canadian Federal Judicial Appointments from 1989 to 2003” (with Lori Hausegger, Troy Riddell & Emmanuelle Richez). Canadian Journal of Political Science 43 (September 2010): 633-659.
  • “The Same-Sex Marriage Reference: Making Sense of the Government’s Litigation Strategy,” In Contested Constitutionalism: Reflections on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, James Kelly & Christopher Manfredi, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009.
  • “Federal Judicial Selection: Examining the Harper Appointments and Reforms” (with Lori Hausegger & Troy Riddell). Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law 2 (2009): 499-522.
  • “Conceptualizing Attorney General Conduct in Charter Litigation: From Independence to Central Agency.” Canadian Public Administration 51:2 (Summer 2008): 193-215.
  • “The Unlikely Union of Same-Sex Marriage, Polygamy and the Charter in Court.” Constitutional Forum 16:2 (2007): 15-26.
  • “Judicial Selection in Canada: A Look at Patronage in Federal Appointments since 1988” (with Troy Riddell & Lori Hausegger). University of Toronto Law Journal 58:1 (Winter 2008): 39-74.
  • “Why Does the Federal Government Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in Charter of Rights Cases?: A Strategic Explanation.” Law & Society Review 41:1 (March 2007), 225-50.
  • “Explaining the Gender Gap in Support for the New Right: The Case of Canada” (with Elisabeth Gidengil, André Blais & Neil Nevitte). Comparative Political Studies 38:10 (December 2005), 1171-95.
  • “Expanding the ‘Dialogue’ Debate: Canadian Federal Government Responses to Lower Court Charter Decisions.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37:1 (March 2004), 3-23.