Dr. Julie Macfarlane has spent her adult life teaching in law schools on four continents, researching and working on progressive causes that she feels passionately about.

Julie is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law (Emerita) at the University of Windsor. Julie’s first job as a law teacher was at University College, Cork (Republic of Ireland) in 1981, and then at Anglia Polytechnic University in England. Julie has also held numerous visiting appointments including at the City University of Hong Kong, the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales.

Julie grew up on the Isle of Wight and on the Sussex Downs in England. She lived in London, England, in the 1980’s where she completed her doctoral work while working as a parliamentary lobbyist to pay the bills. Learning to write speeches and legislation, and seeing change happen (or not), she caught the activism bug.

After a stint in Hong Kong where she designed a Bar Admission Program and founded a Free Women’s Legal Advice Centre, Julie moved to Canada in 1992. Support from many funders has enabled her to pursue research that tries to better understand, through lived experiences, misunderstood or ill-understood topics: from self-represented litigants to Islamic shari’a to survivors’ experiences reporting sexual harassment and violence.

Julie has received many awards for her work, including the International Academy of Mediators Award of Excellence (2005), the Institute for Social Policy Understanding Scholar of the Year Award (2012), the David Mundell Medal for Legal Writing (2016), one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers (2017), the John M. Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution (2017). She and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project have won multiple CLAWBIES (the Canadian legal “Oscars”!) for her blog, podcast and the project’s resources for self-represented litigants. In 2020 she was named to the Order of Canada.

Julie now writes, speaks, and lobbies on a range of social justice issues.

Julie received the Order of Canada in 2020 and her citation reads:
“Julie Macfarlane is committed to making access to justice affordable for all. Her activism has resulted in a paradigm shift for the courts. Notably, as founder of the National Self-Represented Litigant Project, she has inspired debate on self-representation and provided invaluable services, resources and education tools to individuals confronting the judicial system. A professor of law and a distinguished university professor at the University of Windsor for more than 25 years, she is also esteemed for her writing on sexual violence and her advocacy for survivors, as well as for her study of Islamic divorce.”