Personal profile


Dr. Janis Sarra served as UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor from 2014 to 2019, an appointment by the President to recognize a faculty member that has made outstanding contributions as a scholar and academic leader. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Sarra served as Director of the Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC. Dr. Sarra is Professor of Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and founding Director of the National Centre for Business Law. She served as Associate Dean of the Allard School of Law until 2007, with oversight of development, strategic planning, alumni relations and communications. Dr. Sarra is the Principal Co-investigator of the Canada Climate Law Initiative, a research collaboration between UBC and York University and is Canadian investigator of the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative at Oxford University.


Dr. Sarra’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of corporate finance,  climate-related financial risk and corporate governance, banking law, securities law, contracts, commercial insolvency law and law and economics. In 2004, she was awarded the title of Distinguished University Scholar for her scholarship in corporate and securities law.  She has published ten books and more than one hundred refereed articles in climate governance, corporate finance, corporate governance and management, securities law and commercial insolvency law. 


Dr. Sarra also served as Senator of the University of British Columbia from 2003 to 2008. She is a board member of the International Insolvency Institute and a director of Assuris. She was previously Director of the Canadian Insolvency Foundation,  a director of the Canadian Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals Association and on the board of the British Columbia Law Institute.  For more than twelve years, Dr. Sarra served as a commercial arbitrator and labour mediator/arbitrator.  Dr. Sarra previously served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, as well as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Social Assistance Review Board. She holds five degrees from the University of Toronto in Political Science, Economics and Law.  She pre. Iviously taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Ryerson University School of Business. Former posts also include Board Member, Ontario Labour Relations Board, Senior Research Associate Ontario Legislative Assembly and Executive Assistant, Metropolitan Toronto Municipal Council, and Research Associate, Health Advocacy Unit.


Dr. Sarra’s contributions to public policy development include: member of the Canadian delegation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group V, 2008-2020, Vienna and New York; World Bank Insolvency and Creditors Rights Task Force, Working Group on Insolvency of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, 2009, Washington, DC; Experts Committee, Expert Witness, Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce, Review of Insolvency Legislation, February, 2008, Ottawa; Member, Ontario Attorney General's Interministerial Task Force on Administrative Tribunals.


Recent books include From Ideas to Action: Governance Paths to Net Zero (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2020); Predatory Lending and the Destruction of the African-American Dream, with Cheryl Wade (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Rescue! (Carswell Thompson, 2014); The 2020 Annotated Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, (Carswell Thomson, 2020); Securities Law in Canada, Cases and Commentary, with M. Condon, A. Anand and S. Bradley (Emond Montgomery, 2017); Director and Officer Liability in Corporate Insolvency, with R.B. Davis (Butterworths, 2010); The Treatment of Employee Wage and Pension Claims in InsolvencyA Comparative Study of 62 Jurisdictions (Thomson Reuters, 2008), Business Organizations: Principles, Policy and Practice (Emond Montgomery, 2008), with R. Yalden et al; Creditor Rights and the Public Interest, Restructuring Corporations (University of Toronto Press, 2003). Dr. Sarra was editor and contributing author of An Exploration of Fairness: Interdisciplinary Inquiries in Law, Science and the Humanities (Carswell, 2013) and A Voice for Many (2012). She served as Editor in Chief of the Annual Review of Insolvency Law, Canada’s leading refereed annual volume of insolvency law theory, policy and practice for 16 years; and was editor in chief and contributing author of Corporate Governance in Global Capital Markets (UBC Press, 2003). 


Recent Webinars


Virtual Colloquium on Resolution of Financially Distressed Financial Institutions

Time for Hope: Developing Innovative Ideas for Moving to a Net Zero Carbon Economy

Book Launch and Panel Discussion


  • Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Contracts
  • Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources Law