This story is published in YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue 2021, part two. Every September, YFile introduces and welcomes those joining the York University community, and those with new appointments. Part one was published on Sept. 3.
Osgoode Hall Law School welcomes four new faculty members this fall: Rabiat Akande, Barnali Choudhury, Valerio De Stefano and Ivan Ozai.
“I am thrilled to have these very accomplished and internationally renowned scholars and teachers joining us at Osgoode,” said Osgoode Dean Mary Condon. “As we work towards implementing our new strategic plan, they will help us enhance our reputation for research excellence and high-quality, innovative legal education.”
Rabiat Akande works in the fields of legal history, law and religion, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, international law, and (post)colonial African law and society. Her current research explores struggles over religion-state relations in comparative contexts and illuminates law’s centrality to one of modernity’s most contested issues – the relationship between religion, the state and society – while also interrogating law’s complex relationship with power, political theology, identity and sociopolitical change. These issues are at the forefront of her book project, Constitutional Entanglements: Empire, Law and Religion in Colonial Northern Nigeria (under contract with Cambridge University Press).
Akande is a lifelong Academy Scholar at the Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies, where she was in residence from 2019 to 2021. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2019 with her dissertation “Navigating Entanglements: Contestations over Religion-State Relations in British Northern Nigeria, c. 1890-1978,” receiving the Law and Society in the Muslim World Prize. At Harvard, Akande held the Clark Byse fellowship and was a dissertation Fellow and graduate student associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She also served as an editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. Akande taught several courses at Harvard, both at the law school and in the Department for African and African American Studies. She also served as adjunct faculty at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to her graduate work, Akande was an associate at G. Elias Solicitors and Advocates, Lagos. She obtained her bachelor of laws from the University of Ibadan and she later studied at the Nigerian Law School.
Akande’s work has been supported by fellowships and grants, including the Cravath International research fellowships, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs fellowship, Harvard Academy grants, and the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World research grant, among others.
Barnali Choudhury is a professor of law and the director of the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. Prior to joining Osgoode, she was a professor at University College London (UCL) and academic director of UCL’s Global Governance Institute.
Choudhury is an internationally recognized expert on business and international economic issues, particularly as they relate to issues of human rights. She has published numerous books, including Corporate Duties to the Public (Cambridge University Press, 2019); Understanding the Company: Corporate Governance and Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2017); and Public Services and International Trade Liberalization: Human Rights and Gender Implications (Cambridge University Press, 2012), as well as a forthcoming commentary on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Her work has appeared in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, the Berkeley Business Law Journal, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, and the Journal of Corporate Law Studies, as well as in numerous other journals and book chapters. It has also been featured in the Oxford Business Law Blog, the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog and the American Society of International Law Insights, among others. She has written op-eds for the Globe and Mail, the Neue Zurcher Zeitung and iPolitics, and her work has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek. She has held numerous research grants, including a grant from the Leverhulme Trust, one of the U.K.’s most prestigious research bodies.
Regularly invited to give talks, Choudhury has presented her work throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, and at the United Nations. She has visited New York University, the University of Cambridge, the University of St. Gallen, the University of Otago, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private Law. In addition to numerous academic citations, her work has been cited by the United Nations, the U.K.’s House of Commons, the House of Lords EU Select Committee and international arbitral tribunals, and has been relied on by governments and international non-governmental organizations.
Valerio De Stefano
Valerio De Stefano will join Osgoode in January 2022. Since October 2017, he has been the BOF-ZAP Research Professor of Labour Law at the Institute for Labour Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium.
De Stefano read law at Bocconi University in Milan, where he obtained both a master’s and a doctoral degree. He also served as a postdoctoral researcher there, while working part-time as an associate at an international law firm. From 2014 to 2017, he worked as an officer of the International Labour Office in Geneva. During the course of his career, he was a visiting academic at UCL, a postdoctoral member of Clare Hall College at the University of Cambridge, a distinguished speaker at the William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law at Saint Louis University Law School and a senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne.
In 2018, De Stefano was awarded an Odysseus Grant from the Research Foundations – Flanders (FWO), amounting to 880,000 euros, for an interdisciplinary research project on the working conditions and labour protection of platform workers. Since 2020 he has been the principal investigator at the KU Leuven of a Horizon 2020 Grant about in-work poverty.
De Stefano regularly publishes articles in major specialized academic journals. He is the co-editor of the Dispatches Session of the Comparative Labour Law and Policy Journal and an editorial adviser of the International Labour Review. He is currently co-authoring a monograph about algorithmic management, platform work and artificial intelligence to be published by Hart in 2022.
De Stefano has acted as a consultant for the International Labour Office, Eurofound, the Joint Research Center of the EU Commission and national governments. Besides numerous academic conferences, lectures and seminars, he has been invited to speak an as expert on the labour protection of new forms of work at the European Parliament, the European Social and Economic Committee, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Canada-EU dialogue on employment, social affairs and decent work. He is a member of the OECD’s Network of Experts on AI (One AI).
Ivan Ozai researches and teaches national and international tax law and policy, with a particular focus on the intersection of tax law with legal theory and political philosophy. His academic writing has appeared in various law reviews and peer-reviewed journals such as the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, the Columbia Journal of Tax Law, the Fordham International Law Journal, the Dalhousie Law Journal, the World Tax Journal, the Journal of Constitutional and International Law, and the Journal of Tax Studies. He has authored chapters in several edited volumes, including, more recently, Tax Justice and Tax Law: Understanding Unfairness in Tax Systems (Hart Publishing, 2020). He is also the author of Expenditures in the Value-Added Tax (2019), published in Portuguese by Editora Lumen Juris.
Ozai has been the recipient of multiple awards for his scholarly work, including the 2018 IFA USA Writing Award by the International Fiscal Association and the 2019 Paul-Gérin-Lajoie Rising Star Award by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, Société et Culture. He currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Public Law and serves as a reviewer for several journals in the fields of law and philosophy.
Before joining Osgoode in July, Ozai practised tax for more than 10 years as a litigator, a legal adviser and a chartered professional accountant. He was appointed to several senior government positions in Brazil, including as a tax court judge and the head of the Advance Tax Rulings Directorate of the Department of Finance of the State of Sao Paulo. He was also the founding director of the Centre for Research in Taxation in Sao Paulo.
During his doctoral studies at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, where he was a Richard H. Tomlinson Fellow, Ozai was a visiting scholar at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in Amsterdam, at the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de Montréal and at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont.