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Who we are

Board of Directors

Toby Mendel, President
Anthony Ramos, Treasurer
Alex Neve, Member
Dawn Russell, Member
Scott Campbell, Member

CLD Team

Toby Mendel, Executive Director
Laura Notess, Senior Legal Officer
Raphael Vagliano, Legal Officer
Sarah Bangash, Intern
Matthew Farrell, Intern


Toby Mendel, Executive Director

Prior to founding the Centre for Law and Democracy in January 2010, Toby Mendel was for over 12 years Senior Director for Law at ARTICLE 19, a human rights NGO focusing on freedom of expression and the right to information. He has provided expertise on these rights to a wide range of actors including the World Bank, various UN and other intergovernmental bodies, and numerous governments and NGOs in countries all over the world. In these various roles, he has often played a leading role in drafting legislation in the areas of the right to information and media regulation. Before joining ARTICLE 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He has published extensively on a range of freedom of expression, right to information, communication rights and refugee issues, including comparative legal and analytical studies on public service broadcasting, the right to information and broadcast policy. Toby has an Honours B.A. in mathematics from McGill University and an L.L.B. from Dalhousie University.

Anthony Ramos, Board Member, Treasurer

Anthony Ramos, CPA is a Manager in the Value Advisory Group of Deloitte’s Financial Advisory practice, specialising in corporate and asset valuations to support a wide range of business needs. He is well-versed in business modeling, transaction support, tax and financial reporting and litigation/forensic financial consulting. Prior to joining Deloitte, Anthony was a Multimedia Developer, overseeing content creation and production for continuing education for the Dalhousie University Department of Psychiatry. Anthony’s commitment to excellence is evident in his pursuit of a Chartered Business Valuator designation. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Sobey’s School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a double-major in Finance and Accounting in 2017. In addition to his academic and professional achievements, Anthony is also a committed member of his community. He has had the privilege of serving as the Treasurer for the Halifax Pride Society, where he helped to manage the organisation’s finances.

Alex Neve, Board Member

Alex Neve believes in a world in which the human rights of all people are protected. He is presently an adjunct professor in international human rights law at the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University, and a Senior Fellow with the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He served as Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch from 2000 – 2020. In that role he led and took part in over forty human rights research and advocacy delegations throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, Guantánamo Bay and, closer to home, First Nations communities in Canada.  Alex is a lawyer, with an LLB from Dalhousie University and a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex.  He has served as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, taught at Osgoode Hall Law School, been affiliated with York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies, and worked as a refugee lawyer in private practice and in a community legal aid clinic.  He is also a Fellow with the Atlantic Human Rights Centre.  Alex has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Trudeau Foundation Mentor. He is a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has received honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from St. Thomas University, the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick.

Dawn Russell, Board Member

Professor Russell practised law in Halifax for five years with the leading Atlantic law firm of Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales before beginning her career as a law professor at Dalhousie University in 1987. Professor Russell received her B.A. from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB , her LL.B. from Dalhousie University, and her LL. M. from Cambridge University. She has taught in the areas of International Law, Law of the Sea, and Ocean Law and Policy. Her writings have focused on international and comparative oceans law and policy, particularly on topics such as domestic fisheries management, the role of international fisheries organizations, high seas fishing of straddling stocks, and maritime boundary delimitation. As well, Professor Russell taught Corporate Law, Corporate Governance, and Securities Regulation. Professor Russell has held several leadership roles with local, national and international organizations. She has also served as a consultant to the Government of Nova Scotia and to the Government of Canada. She was Dean of Dalhousie Law School from 1996 to 2005 and Co-Chaired the Nova Scotia Law Reform Commission from 1995-2002. On June 30, 2023, Professor Russell completed 12 years as the President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Scott Campbell, Board Member

Scott Campbell is a litigation partner with Stewart McKelvey in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Carleton University, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford.  From 2011-2015, he taught Conflict of Laws at the Schulich School of Law (Dalhousie University). In his practice, Scott routinely advises and represents clients on matters of procedural and appellate strategy, class actions, jurisdiction, private international law, administrative law, and constitutional law.  He has appeared before all levels of court in Nova Scotia and Ontario, in addition to the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Scott has served on the admissions committee for Dalhousie Medical School and was a long-standing board member of the ALS Society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Among other things, Scott currently sits on the Gender Equity Committee for the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Stewart McKelvey.  Scott is also Chair of the Eastern Admiralty Law Association and Regional Committee Chair for the International Association of Defense Counsel.

Laura Notess, Senior Legal Officer

Laura Notess is a senior legal officer at the Centre for Law and Democracy with a background in international human rights law. She earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. in 2015. After graduating, she worked on land rights for rural communities and Indigenous Peoples at the World Resources Institute. She also has conducted legal research and policy work around issues such as political prisoners, refugee policy, the prevention and prohibition of torture, and protections for human rights defenders. During law school, she completed internships with several non-profits and at a DC-based human rights law firm. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in International Political Economy from Fordham University in the Bronx, and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown.

Raphael Vagliano, Legal Officer

Raphael Vagliano is a legal officer at the Centre for Law and Democracy. He holds dual degrees in common and civil law from McGill University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University.  After completing his law studies, he worked for a year as a Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellow at Amnesty International Canada, where he helped advocate for Canadian compliance with international human rights norms on a wide range of issues, including the rights of Indigenous peoples, national security, the rights of women and corporate accountability.  He then practiced as a refugee lawyer at Jared Will & Associates in Toronto for four and a half years. During this time, he appeared before the Federal Court of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board in connection with a variety of immigration and refugee law matters. In between his undergraduate and law studies, Raphael lived in Syria and Egypt and speaks Arabic, English, French and conversational Spanish.