Dr. Virginia Torrie is a former Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. She has authored and co-authored a number of scholarly articles, as well as a sole authored monograph, Reinventing Bankruptcy Law: A History of the Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act (University of Toronto Press, 2020) and a co-authored book, Debt and Federalism: Landmark Cases in Canadian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law, 1894-1937 (UBC Press, 2022). Dr. Torrie holds J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, and a Ph.D. from Kent Law School, University of Kent.
Exploring the interplay between bankruptcy and insolvency law and secured creditor rights is a focus of Dr. Torrie’s research. Her interdisciplinary approach draws on ideas from socio-legal theory and historical institutionalism to study cycles of legal change. Her current research interests include the history of Canadian business restructuring from the Great Depression through to the 21st century, and more specifically, farm business restructuring in the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Torrie is interested in how contemporary notions of the terms “bankruptcy and insolvency” have been shaped by various factors, such as the evolution of ideas, commercial practices, interest groups and institutions, changing methods of statutory interpretation, and constitutional doctrine. She seeks to shed light on how “bankruptcy and insolvency”, in the space of 100 years, went from being an unused constitutional head of power to assuming its present status as a robust field of federal jurisdiction. Current projects include a second volume to Debt and Federalism which traces on the evolution of the federal bankruptcy and insolvency power through the mid-twentieth century when numerous provincial statutes came under constitutional scrutiny. Broader research interests include contemporary corporate restructuring/insolvency, especially of the near-public sector, e.g. universities, and AI governance in the Canadian banking sector.
Dr. Torrie is the recipient of numerous research grants, including a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, as well as grants through the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, University of Manitoba, the Legal Research Institute and the Manitoba Law Foundation, and the Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law, University of Manitoba. In 2019, Dr. Torrie completed a Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from the University of Manitoba. Dr. Torrie uses blended learning and interactive teaching strategies to promote classroom engagement in all her courses. She is dedicated to trying new and innovative teaching methods and approaches with the twin purposes of making learning both effective and enjoyable. Her skills are well-recognized and she is the recipient of several awards, including the Faculty of Law’s Barney Sneiderman Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017 and the University of Manitoba Merit Awards for Teaching in 2018, Service in 2019 and Research in 2020.
An active presenter on both pedagogical methods and topics in legal research, Dr. Torrie was an invited speaker on the Farmers’ Creditor Arrangement Act Reference Case of 1937 at the Osgoode Legal History Workshop at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and has been a guest lecturer at law schools both nationally and internationally, including the University of Adelaide, Western University and University of Alberta. In 2022, she has been invited to present her co-authored farm insolvency research at the Business History Group, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She held an Academic Visitorship at the E.W. Barker Centre for Law and Business, National University of Singapore in 2019. Dr. Torrie also contributed three chapters on executory contracts, the CCAA, and constitutional aspects of the bankruptcy system to the leading Canadian bankruptcy text, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law in Canada: Cases, Materials and Problems (Irwin Law, 2019).
Dr. Torrie has been consulted as a legal expert in Canada and internationally in the areas of bankruptcy and insolvency law, receivership, federalism, statutory interpretation, legislative history, and consumer protection. Her research is cited by the Ontario Court of Appeal, la Cour d’appel du Québec, and several courts of Queen’s Bench. She regularly presents her research at Canadian, British, American, and international conferences, including the Canadian Commercial Law Symposium, INSOL International Academics Colloquium, Law and Society Association, Social Science History Association, and Canadian Historical Association. Her case comment on the Laurentian University insolvency recently made SSRN’s Canadian Law eJournal Top Ten list. Dr. Torrie serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Banking and Finance Law Review, having established an Annual Special Issue on FinTech which is now in its fourth year, and the newly launched Law Student Fintech Writing Competition.