Lorna A. Turnbull is a professor and former Dean in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.  She has lived in ten cities and villages across Canada and in Europe and the United States and completed her secondary schooling at the International School of Geneva.  She returned to Canada to attend university earning an Honours B.A. (First Class) from Queen's Universityand an LL.B. (magna cum laude) from the University of Ottawa.  She clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal andthen worked with Osler Hoskin and Harcourt before getting her first taste of teaching at Osgoode Hall Law School in the LRW Program.  Knowing that teaching was her calling she headed to Columbia University in New York City on a full scholarhsip and with a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship.  She earned her LL.M. and her J.S.D.(Doctor of the Science of Law), before landing her dream job at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law in 2001.  Dr. Turnbull has brought her commitment to students and to creative teaching to a range subjects including Income Tax Law and Policy, Children, Youth and the Law, Human Rights, Advanced Family Law, various Internships, Legal Systems and Legal Methods.  She also enjoys teaching in French when the opportunity arises. Her passion for teaching has led her to co-develop a bilingual program at Robson Hall to promote access to justice in both official languages. She is also committed to helping students connect classroom learning to real-world problem solving.  She is the proud 2019 recipient of the University of Manitoba Student Teachers Recognition Award.

Dr Turnbull’s passion as a scholar grew from her own encounters with injustice beginning with a narrow and backward decision of the Manitoba Court of Appeal that she encountered in her second year of law school which inspired her first published academic article (Turnbull, L.A. (1989). Brooks, Allen and Dixon v. Canada Safeway Ltd. - BlissRevisited. 34 McGill L.J.172) and sowed the seeds of a lasting concern with gender equality, vulnerability and care.  The personal drove the political as she and her partner raised their three children and were active in their inner city Toronto neighbourhood addressing the oppressive impacts of Mike Harris’s austerity budgets on women and their children. Her research evolved to focus on the work of care, its importance to carers and those who depend on the care, and how legal frameworks support or fail these important relationships.  She examines these questions through the lens of Canada’s constitutional guarantees and international obligations, and through a deep commitment to Treaties and reconciliation.  She is the holder of numerous grants as Principal Investigator and co-Investigator (from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Prairie Action Foundation, the Province of Manitoba, and Justice Canada among others) that support projects looking at the leading court decisions regarding motherwork and equality, the overlap between children in the child welfare system and youth in the criminal justice system, the impacts of domestic violence on children’s wellbeing, economic supports for caregivers, and “big data” informed policy development.  She is particularly concerned with economic inequality affecting indigenous families and communities, and women and children.  She is the author of Double Jeopardy: Motherwork and the Law(2001) and has two new books in progress. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in the WiSE Centre for Economic Justice in Scotland.

News and stories

Research Areas

    • Law and social policy
    • Gender equality
    • Motherwork
    • Rights of children and youth
    • Economic inequality
    • Income tax
    • Human rights
    • Reconciliation
    • Big data

Selected Publications


Levasseur, K., Paterson, S., Turnbull, L.A. (eds) (2020). Mothering and Welfare: Depriving, surviving, thriving.Toronto: Demeter Press.

Turnbull, L.A. (2001). Double Jeopardy: Motherwork and the Law.Toronto: Sumach Press. (Now Canadian Scholars Press)

Articles, Book Chapters and Reviews

Hansen, N. and Turnbull, L. A. (2013) Disability and Care: Still not “Getting It” 25 Can. J. Women and the Law111.

Turnbull, L.A., and Fridell, M. (2013). Resilient Feminism: Social Movement Strategy in a Conservative Regnum, in Bjornholt, M. and McKay, A. (Eds) Counting on Marilyn Waring: New Advances in Feminist Economics.Toronto: Demeter Press.

Turnbull, L.A. (2013). [Review of Transforming Law’s Family: The Legal Recognition of Planned Lesbian MotherhoodHerizons

Turnbull, L. A. (2012) CEDAW as a Tool to Ensure Economic Equality for Mothers in Canada 3 J. Motherhood Initiative9.

Turnbull, L. A. (2010) The Wicked Problem of Women’s Economic Inequality 23 Can. J. Women and the Law271.

Gallant, M.M. and Turnbull, L.A., (2010).  Income from Business and Property, Chapter Five, in Edgar, Tim Sandler, Daniel, and Cockfield, Arthur (Eds) Materials on Canadian Income Tax(14th ed.). Scarborough: Carswell.

Turnbull, L. A. (2010) Rand on Family Law: Wives and Mothers at Mid-Century 61 U.N.B.L.J. 215.

Turnbull, L.A. (2009). A Way of Being in the World, in Brooks, Kim (Ed) One Woman’s Difference: The Contributions of Justice Bertha Wilson.Vancouver: UBC Press.

Turnbull, L.A. (2009). [Review of Rapports sociaux de sexe/genre et droit: repenser le droit] 21 Can J. Women and the Law417

Turnbull, L.A. (2009). [Review of Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship and Legal ActivismHerizons

Turnbull, L.A. (2008). [Review of Bar Codes: Women in the Legal ProfessionHerizons

Turnbull, L.A. (2007). [Review of Women and Children First] 22 Can J. Law and Society265

Turnbull, L.A. (2007). Dickie: Right But Not Right Enough. The Court Blog

Bakht, N., Radbord, J. & Turnbull, L (2007) D.B.S. v. S.R.G.: Promoting Women’s Equality through Automatic Recalculation of Child Support, 17 Can. J. Women and the Law535.

DeGroot, J. & Turnbull, L. (2006) Femme Fiscale Brings Women’s Voices to the Legislature 25 Canadian Woman Studies173.

Turnbull, L.A. (2006). The Promise of Brooks v. Safeway Ltd.: Those Who Bear Children Should Not Be Disadvantaged. 17 Can. J. Women and the Law161.

Turnbull, L.A. (2003). Essay: Taxing Choices - A Conversation about the Demands of Motherwork on Tax Policy. 51 Can. Tax J.,1953.

Turnbull, L.A. (2003). [Review of Women's Legal Strategies in Canada]. 18 Can. J. Law and Society,182.

Turnbull, L.A. (2002). [Review of Mother Troubles: Rethinking Contemporary Maternal Dilemmas]. 4 J. Ass'n for Research on Mothering.

Turnbull, L.A. (1990). Re Leonard Foundation Trust. 38 Estates and Trusts Reports47. Comment.

Turnbull, L.A. (1989). Brooks, Allen and Dixon v. Canada Safeway Ltd. - BlissRevisited. 34 McGill L.J.172.

Community Involvement

Community involvement is a cornerstone of Dr. Turnbull’s identity as a teacher and scholar.  Over the early part of her career, as an engaged scholar, she was actively involved in the Legal Committee of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, and with the National Association of Women and the Law, on cases and legislation affecting equality for women.  During her decade with the United Nations Platform for Action Committee of Manitoba she regularly met with ministers, and government and opposition members about best practices for gender plus analysis of provincial policies and budgets.  More recently, she has been the Chair of Basic Income Manitoba/Revenu de Base Manitoba, and a board member of the Basic Income Canada Network.

In support of her commitment to teaching, Dr. Turnbull served as the President of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, a founding Editor and later Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review (CLEAR), and as a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba and a member of the Council of the Manitoba Association of Architects, both self-regulating professions with professional responsibility and ethical standards.  She also served for many years on the Legal Help Centre Board of Directors.  As Dean of the Faculty, she served on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Common Law Degree Approval Committee, the Council of Canadian Law Deans, including on the Executive Committee, and as a Board Member of the Manitoba Law Foundation.

Currently Dr. Turnbull serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute (appointed in 2014 by the Chief Justice of Canada), and the Board of Directors of Kortojura.  She is a member of the Reseau National de Formation en Justice and sits on the Discipline Committee of the Law Society of Manitoba. She is also the Faculty’s representative on the Conseil d’Administration of the Association des jurists de l’expression francaise du Manitoba.  Since 2007, she has served as a part-time Commissioner of the Automobile Injury Compensation Appeal Commission, hearing cases in both French and English.


  • Faculty of Law’s Extraordinary Service Faculty Award, for her diligence, professionalism, and leadership in providing support to her colleagues in service work on governance, compensation and Access to Justice in French. – 2023
  • Students’ Teacher Recognition Award (CATL) – 2019