Jesse Hartery

PhD Candidate

Jesse Hartery is a Ph.D. candidate at Melbourne Law School. His research interests cover the areas of legal theory, multi-level governance and legal traditions.

Prior to joining the Law School, Jesse was a commercial and constitutional litigator at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto, Canada. He has also served as a Law Clerk to Justice Nicholas Kasirer at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jesse’s scholarship has notably been published in the McGill Law Journal, the Alberta Law Review, Policy Options, the McGill International Review, the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, and the International Journal of Constitutional Law. He has also been invited to present his work in Canada, Germany, Myanmar, and Russia.

Jesse holds an Honours B.A. in History and Asian Studies from the University of Ottawa, degrees in common law (J.D.) and civil law (B.C.L.) from McGill University, and a postgraduate diploma in Federalism, Decentralisation and Conflict Resolution from the University of Fribourg. He is called to the bar in Québec, a civil law jurisdiction, and Ontario, a common law jurisdiction. He is the recipient of the Ronald L. Watts Young Scholar Award from the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies.

Thesis Title

Rethinking the Role of Courts in Federal Systems: Constitutional Enforcement in the Judicial and Political Arenas

Thesis Summary

All the definitions of “federalism” proposed by scholars include the presence of an impartial arbiter, generally a constitutional or supreme court. While I agree with other scholars that courts should play a role in ensuring deviations from the constitutional bargain are policed, I am less certain that their role can be embraced enthusiastically given the studies that show the centralizing tendencies of courts in some federal systems. The purpose of my thesis is to note the existence of this trend and respond to this problem, with a view to providing insights for old and emerging federal systems. My research explores how courts do and should approach disputes in federal systems and seeks to develop a theory of political constitutionalism distinct to federal societies.


  • Administrative/Public Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Legal Theory