Welcome to the Applied Legal Studies Research Group

What is applied legal studies research?

Applied legal studies research is an approach to legal research and analysis that focuses on current and potential applications of law in the social world, together with the ways in which social change (including new ways of understanding old problems) informs legal rules, structures and practice, and indicates directions for future reform.  Applied legal studies research is not subject limited, therefore, and the applied legal studies research group is open to scholars and legal practitioners with interests in a wide range of legal subjects and issues.  Indeed, the applied legal studies approach recognises the interdisciplinary nature of law in the social world (“law in action” as opposed to “law on the books”), in which laws of different kinds are deeply intertwined with one another and with different forms of social practice.

About Us: The Applied Legal Studies Research Group

The Applied Legal Studies Research Group (ALSRG) was initiated in October 2019 at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.  ALSRG is led by Dr. Robert Gordon, Professor in the School of Criminology and Dr. Margaret Isabel Hall, BC Notaries Chair in Applied Legal Studies and Professor in the School of Criminology.

ALSRG provides a hub for applied legal research generation, network building, and knowledge exchange between researchers, legal professionals, and legal ”users” in the private and public sectors.

The following comprise the initial focus subject areas within ALSRG:

Issues in Private Law

  • Property
  • Contracts
  • Tort

End of Life and Incapacity Planning 

  • Medical Assistance in Dying
  • Wills and Estates and Incapacity Planning
  • Supported and Substitute Decision Making

Law and Population Health

  • Law and Aging
  • Mental Capacity and Mental Health
  • Access to Justice
  • Vulnerability
The activities of the ALSRG are not limited to these focus subjects, and new areas of research focus may be added from time to time.
Contact: Margaret Hall - margaret_hall@sfu.ca


Gordon, Robert M.; BA (La Trobe), MA (SFU), PhD (UBC); Professor

  • Current research interests/activity

Health law, including mental health law; adult guardianship and adult protection law, including the law relating to public guardians and trustees; supported and substitute decision making; abuse and neglect of the elderly; medical assistance in dying; commercial and international attacks on academic intergrity.

R. Gordon, 2020 Annotated British Columbia Incapacity Planning Legislation, Adult Guardianship Act and Related Statutes, Thomson Reuters Canada

Email: rgordon@sfu.ca

Surrey Office: SUR 5170


Hall, Margaret I.; BA, Hons. (UBC), LLB (Queen’s), LLM (UBC), PhD (UBC); Professor; BC Notaries Chair; Director, Applied Legal Studies Graduate Program

BC Notaries Chair in Applied Legal Studies, School of Criminology

Email: mihall@sfu.ca


  • Selected publications

MI Hall (forthcoming 2020, co-author) Law & Disability in Canada: Cases & Materials (Toronto: Lexis Nexis Canada, 2020)

MI Hall (forthcoming 2020) “Law and Dementia: Family Context and the Experience of Dementia in Old Age” B. Clough & J. Herring, eds. Disability Care and Family Law (London, UK: Routledge).

MI Hall “Situating dementia in the experience of old age: reconstructing legal response” (2019) 66 International Journal of Law and Psychiatry Article 101468.

MI Hall, (co-author) Canadian Tort Law, 11th ed. (Toronto: Lexis Nexis Canada, 2018).

MI Hall (Editor) The Canadian Law of Obligations: Private Law for the 21st Century (Lexis Nexis Canada: 2018).

MI Hall “Systemic Wrongdoing and the Liability of Public Authorities: Two Case Studies” (coauthor) in M.I. Hall, ed. The Canadian Law of Obligations: Private Law for the 21st Century (Lexis Nexis Canada: 2018).

MI Hall (Co-author) The Law of Nuisance in Canada, 2d ed. (Toronto: Lexis Nexis Canada, 2016).

MI Hall “Theorising the Institutional Wrongdoer: The Role of Tort Doctrine” (2016) 53(4) Alberta Law Review 995 (Special Issue on Recent Development in Tort Law, in Honour of Lewis Klar)

MI Hall “The Vulnerability Jurisdiction: Equity, Parens Patriae, and the Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court” (2016) 2 Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 185.

MI Hall “Mental Health Law for the Old: Defining the Category, Identifying the Issues”” in C. Flood and J. Chandler, eds. Law and Mind: Mental Health Law and Policy in Canada (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2016).

MI Hall “Dementia, decision-making and the (adult) guardianship paradigm: Bentley v Maplewood Seniors Care Society” (2015) 1 Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law.

MI Hall  “Guardianship for the Old: Autonomy, Dementia, and the Guardianship Complex” in I. Doron, C. Foster & J. Herring, eds. Law, Ethics and Dementia (Oxford, UK: Hart Publications, 2014).

MI Hall “Old age” (or, do we need a critical theory of law and aging?)” (2014) 35 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 1.

MI Hall (Co-author) “Elder law and conflicts of interest in the United States and Canada”, co-author, J. Pietsch (2013) 117 Penn State Law Review 1191

MI Hall “Mental Capacity in the (Civil) Law: Capacity, Autonomy and Vulnerability” (2012) 58 McGill Law Journal 1.

MI Hall “Material Exploitation and the Autonomy Ideal: The Role of Equity Theory in Adult Protection Legislation” (2008) 5 Elder Law Review (Australia) Article 9.

 MI Hall (Co-author) “Assessing Capacity Within a Context of Abuse or Neglect” (2009) 21 Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect 56.

MI Hall “Capacity, Vulnerability, Risk and Consent: Personhood in the Law” in D. O’Connor, ed. Dementia, personhood and decision making: examining the interface (London: Jessica Kingsley Press, 2009).

MI Hall “Law and Aging: An Equity Theory Approach” in I. Doron, ed. Theories on Law and Ageing: The Jurisprudence of Elder Law (Berlin: Springer Publications, 2008).

MI Hall (Co-author) “Equity Matters: Doing Fairness in the Context of Family Caregiving” (2007) Canadian Journal on Aging 26 (Supp). 4 2006.

MI Hall “Institutional Tortfeasors: Systemic Negligence and the Class Action” (2006) 2 Tort Law Journal.

MI Hall “Equitable Fraud: Material Exploitation in Domestic Settings” (2006) 4 Elder Law Review (Australia).

MI Hall “Equity and The Older Adult: Undue Influence and Unconscionability” in A. Soden, ed. Advising the Older Client (Toronto: Lexis Nexus Butterworths, 2005).

MI Hall “Duty, Causation and Third Party Perpetrators: The Bonnie Mooney Case” (2005) 50 McGill Law Journal 597.

MI Hall “Duty to Protect, Duty to Control, and the Duty to Warn” (2003) 82(3) Canadian Bar Review 645.

MI Hall “Care For Life: Private Care Agreements Between Older Adults and Friends or Family Members” (2003) 2 Elder Law Review (Australia).

MI Hall “Intuitive Fiduciaries: The Equitable Structure of Family Life” (2003) 19 Canadian Journal of Family Law 345.

MI Hall “Child neglect and the right to protection: Z and Others v. United Kingdom” (2002) 24(4) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 448.

MI Hall “Care Agreements: Property in Exchange for the Promise of Care for Life, The British Columbia Law Institute Study” (2002) 81 Reform (Australia) 29.

MI Hall “The Care Agreement: Transfer of Property in Exchange for the Promise of Care and Support” (2002) 21 Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal Vol. 21 209.

MI Hall “Responsibility Without Fault: The Rule From Bazley v. Curry” (2000) 79(3) Canadian Bar Review 474.

MI Hall “The Liability of Public Authorities for the Abuse of Children in Institutional Care: Common Law Developments in Canada and the United Kingdom” (2000) 14 (3) International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 281.

MI Hall “After Waterhouse: Vicarious Liability and the Tort of Institutional Abuse” (2000) 22 (2) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 159.


  • Selected projects (current)

MI Hall (Co-applicant) “Promoting relational autonomy for people with late stage dementia living in dementia care units” SSHRC Insight Grant

MI Hall (Principal applicant) “Assessing the Human Rights Remedy After Moore v British Columbia: A Qualitative Research Study” Law Foundation of British Columbia

MI Hall (Principal applicant) “Adult Protection: A Qualitative Research Study Examining Implementations/Awareness of BC’s Adult Guardianship Act” Foundation for Legal Research

MI Hall (Co-applicant) “Understanding and improving family agreements: reducing risk of failure, preventing elder abuse and facilitating access to justice” Collaborative Seed Funding/Australian Centre for Health Law Research (QUT Brisbane) 


  • Current Graduate Student Supervision

Alexis Haig, MA Gerontology, Exploring Health Care and Personal Care Decision-Making under Representation Agreements: the Lived Experiences of 'Representatives' of Older Adults with Dementia

A lack of research currently exists on how the Representation Agreement Act - planning legislation unique to British Columbia - operates for older adults living dementia in health care and personal care situations they face. Furthermore, little is known about how 'representatives,’ designated in representation agreements for older adults with dementia, experience health care and personal care decision-making in their role. This thesis aims to explore the lived experiences of people designated as representatives in health care and/or personal care decision-making for older adults with dementia.