A graduate of Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, and Cambridge University (United Kingdom), Nicole LaViolette has authored numerous research papers on human rights, international humanitarian law, and refugee law from both Canadian and international legal perspectives.
She was a law clerk for Madam Justice Alice Desjardins at the Federal Court of Appeal in 1996-97, before completing a graduate degree at Cambridge University in 1998.
Professor LaViolette joined the teaching staff of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 1998. Her research is devoted mainly to international human rights, international humanitarian law, and the rights of refugees. She is also interested in lesbian and gay legal issues and feminist theory.
In 2001, she collaborated with the Law Commission of Canada to publish a major study on registered common law marriages. Her conclusion: "This formula should not replace marriage, but it could be considered by some couples who do not necessarily wish to marry. "But," she is quick to add, "to avoid any form of discrimination, this type of union should be available to both heterosexuals and homosexuals."
Recently, Professor LaViolette also published a research paper for the Canadian Senate regarding international human rights treaties; however, Canada is not yet a party to those treaties. Her study is the first survey of its kind in the country.
Professor LaViolette has several years of experience working as a legislative assistant in the House of Commons. In addition she has worked with governmental organisations like the Immigration and Refugee Board, and nongovernmental organizations specializing in human rights and women's issues.
Professor LaViolette teaches Family Law, Public International Law, and Conflicts of Laws. She is also an accomplished competitive cyclist.