Sujit Choudhry

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Sujit Choudhry
Born 1970 (age 47–48)
New Delhi, India[1]
Alma mater McGill University (B.Sc.)
University of Oxford (B.A.)
University of Toronto (LL.B.)
Harvard Law School (LL.M.)
Occupation Lawyer, Educator, Author
Years active 1996-current
Awards Rhodes Scholarship
Cecelia Goetz Professorship
William E. Taylor Memorial Fellowship
Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship
Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law
In office
Preceded by Gillian Lester (Interim Dean)
Succeeded by Melissa Murray (Interim Dean)

Sujit Choudhry is an educator and expert in comparative constitutional law. He is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions. Choudhry was the first person of Indian origin to be named dean of a top US law school.[1] He has also been the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, the Scholl Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and a recipient of the Trudeau Fellowship. In April 2018, Choudhry presented a report to Ukrainian constitutional experts in Kyiv on executive powers.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Choudhry was born in New Delhi in 1970. He went to the University of Toronto Schools for high school. He received a B.Sc. at McGill University.[3] Choudhry received law degrees from the University of Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), the University of Toronto and Harvard Law School, where he had a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship.[4]


Early career[edit]

During the 1996-7 term, Choudhry was Law Clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada.[5] He was a Graduate Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions as well as a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School for the 1998-1999 academic year.[6]

In 1999, he joined the faculty of the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor.[7] He was tenured in 2004[3] and later named Scholl Chair and was Associate Dean. At the University of Toronto, he was cross-appointed to the Department of Political Science and a Senior Fellow of Massey College.[8][9]

Choudhry was a member of the Governing Toronto Advisory Panel, which proposed major reforms to the structure of municipal governance in Toronto,[10] and in 2006, was named by the government of Ontario to the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Ontario, one of the largest publicly funded legal assistance programs in the world.[11] Choudhry supported the movement for same sex marriage in Canada.[12] He was counsel of record before the Supreme Court of Canada in two noted cases: the Charkaoui security certificate case and the Guantanamo detainee cases of Khadr 1 and Khadr 2.[13] He was also a member of the Academic Advisory Committee to the Province of Ontario's Democratic Renewal Secretariat.[13] He acted as consultant to two federal committees in Canada, the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada and the National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health.[14] He was also a consultant to the World Bank Institute. He chaired the Advisory Board of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario.[4][15][16]


In 2011, Choudhry was appointed the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.[17][18] In 2013, he was the keynote speaker at the Global Centre for Pluralism's Pluralism Forum, discussing group rights in divided societies.[19] At New York University, he led a student team to Tunisia in 2013 and 2014[20][21] to present technical reports at the University of Tunisia and to meet with President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, among others.[17]

He was appointed Dean and the first I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at Berkeley's School of Law in 2014.[18][22][23] In 2015, the University of California investigated an allegation from Choudhry's former executive assistant of sexual harassment and closed the case. Choudhry and the Regents of the University of California were served with a civil complaint in March 2016, which led the case to be reopened and Choudhry to sue the university for an unconstitutional denial of due process and for racial discrimination.[24][25] Under settlement agreements, he remained a tenured faculty member "in good standing with no disciplinary record", the civil complaint was dismissed and all proceedings were dropped.[26][27]

Constitutional Transitions[edit]

Choudhry is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions.[23] The Center for Constitutional Transitions partnered with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) on preparing a set of thematic research reports on constitutional design for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) post Arab Spring.[28] The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has cited Choudhry's work in its reports.[17]

He has served as an advisor to the constitution building process in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen.[22] In July 2017, he co-led a workshop on executive powers in Kyiv,[29] and in December 2017, co-convened a workshop on restoring democratic constitutions after authoritarian backsliding in Berlin.[30] He participated in a United Nations expert meeting in Geneva on mass atrocity and transitional justice in November 2017.[31] Choudhry and other experts in constitutional and international law released an open letter in October 2017 calling for dialogue and negotiations in Catalonia.[32][33] He co-authored a report titled "Semi-Presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine" with Thomas Sedelius and Julia Kyrychenko, which was presented in April 2018 before Ukrainian constitutional experts in Kyiv.[34]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Choudhry was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and had a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship from Harvard University and the William E. Taylor Memorial Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).[4]

In 2010, the Trudeau Foundation awarded Choudhry a Trudeau Fellowship.[35] The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto named Choudhry Practitioner of the Year in 2011.[36] In 2015, the South Asian Bar Associations of Southern California (SABA-SC) and Northern California (SABA-NC) each awarded Choudhry the "Trailblazer Award".[37][38]

Selected publications[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Choudhry is married with two children.[3]


  1. ^ a b Rajghatta, Chidanand. "Indian-origin scholar Sujit Choudhry becomes dean of top US law school". The Economic Times. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Semi-Presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine". International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 
  3. ^ a b c Frey, Jennifer. "Introducing Sujit Choudhry | NYU Law Magazine". Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  4. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Harvey, Colin; Schwartz, Alexander (20 July 2012). Rights in Divided Societies. Bloomsbury Publishing. 
  6. ^ Nicolaïdis, Kalypso; Howse, Robert (2001). The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union. Oxford University Press. 
  7. ^ "The Law School Community" (PDF). NYU Law. 6 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Kumar, Arun (2 July 2014). "Delhi born scholar becomes dean of top US law school". Desi Express. 
  9. ^ Roach, Kent (2005). Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate Over Private Health Insurance in Canada. University of Toronto Press. 
  10. ^ "The City We Want—The Government We Need" (PDF). Governing Toronto. November 2005. 
  11. ^ "U of T Law Professor and Law Alumni Association President Appointed to Legal Aid Ontario's Board". University of Toronto. 15 December 2006. 
  12. ^ Makin, Kirk (25 January 2005). "Harper blasted on gay marriage". The Globe and Mail. 
  13. ^ a b "Sujit Choudhry | Fondation Trudeau". Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  14. ^ "A report of the National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health October 2003". Public Health Agency of Canada. October 2003. 
  15. ^ "The city we want - the government we need: the report of the Governing Toronto Advisory panel". Governing Toronto Advisory Panel. 2005. 
  16. ^ Khaliq, Shanel (22 July 2014). "Introducing Sujit Choudhry". Darpan Magazine. 
  17. ^ a b c "Sujit Choudhry named next dean of Berkeley Law | NYU School of Law". 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  18. ^ a b Kumar Arun (2 July 2014). "Delhi born scholar becomes dean of top US law school". India Tomorrow. 
  19. ^ "Group rights: cultural difference or economic and political power?". Global Centre For Pluralism. 3 October 2013. 
  20. ^ CT Clinic. "CT Clinic". Constitutional Transitions. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  21. ^ "Constitutional Transitions Clinic visits Tunisia to confer with president | NYU School of Law". 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  22. ^ a b Gluss, Susan (5 May 2014). "NYU's Sujit Choudhry named new dean of Berkeley Law". University of California. 
  23. ^ a b "Sujit Choudhry". Institute For Integrated Transitions. 
  24. ^ Peter Berkowitz (17 May 2016). "An Assault on Due Process at UC Berkeley". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  25. ^ Peter Berkowitz (17 April 2016). "Double Jeopardy at the University of California". RealClear Politics. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  26. ^ Lee, Chantelle; Lynn, Jessica; Pratt, Pressly (14 April 2017). "UC Board of Regents settles lawsuits with Sujit Choudhry, Tyann Sorrell". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 2017-04-16. 
  27. ^ Hancock, Ben (15 April 2017). "Berkeley Law, Ex-Dean Settle Suits Over Alleged Sexual Harassment". ALM Network of Legal Publications, Events, Research, and Intelligence Tools. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  28. ^ "Semi-Presidentialism As Power Sharing" (PDF). International IDEA. 
  29. ^ "Sujit Choudhry Speaks at Semi-Presidentialism Roundtable in Ukraine". PR Newswire. 
  30. ^ "Sujit Choudhry Convenes Roundtable to Tackle Hungary's and Poland's Authoritarian Backsliding". 
  31. ^ "Sujit Choudhry Attends Expert Group Meeting on Transitional Justice and Atrocity Prevention in Geneva". 
  32. ^ "Sujit Choudhry speaks out on Spain and Catalonia". 
  33. ^ "Sujit Choudhry Drafts an Open Letter on Catalonia: A Plea for Dialogue Between the Spanish and Catalan Government Heads". PR Newswire. 
  34. ^ "Semi-Presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine". International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 
  35. ^ Verma, Sonia (28 September 2010). "Trudeau's legacy pays the way for peace". The Globe and Mail. 
  36. ^ "South Asian Bar Association of Toronto names Sujit Choudhry Practitioner of the Year". NYU Law. 
  37. ^ Staff Reporter (23 March 2015). "South Asian Attorneys Honored at 22nd Annual SABA-NC Gala". India West. Retrieved 9 September 2017. 
  38. ^ Staff Reporter (8 April 2015). "Three Honored At SABA Foundation Event". India Journal. Retrieved 9 September 2017. 
  39. ^ "U.C. Berkeley Law Professor Sujit Choudhry Co-Edits New Book". India West. 

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