This two-day conference brought together judges, lawyers, academics and law students to mark the significant contributions of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin to Canadian law and the administration of justice. The conference provided a unique opportunity for participants and for judges especially, to engage with Chief Justice McLachlin’s extensive jurisprudence and contributions by presenting and discussing research inspired by her work.
Chief Justice McLachlin has had a significant impact on virtually every area of the law, from criminal to constitutional law, to Indigenous and family law and the law of torts. Her impact on the institution of the Supreme Court itself, on the administration of justice and on access to justice has influenced and inspired every member of the Canadian judiciary.
The main objectives of this program were to bring together judges, lawyers, academics and students to explore the contributions of Chief Justice McLaclin to Canadian Law and to the administration of justice; increase awareness of the contributions made by Chief Justice McLachlin to the Canadian legal landscape; to provide training and mentorship to law students and graduate students and to produce a book-length peer-reviewed edited collection on Chief Justice McLachlin’s contributions to Canadian Law and the administration of Justice.
Chief Justice McLachlin is one of the most influential jurists of the past 30 years in Canada. It is impossible to summarize the depth and breadth of her jurisprudence. This two-day conference provided a great opportunity to the Canadian legal community to come together to reflect on her contributions and how she has imprinted the Canadian legal landscape. Participants from all horizons spoke to various aspects of Chief Justice McLachlin. Conference panels were structured so as to generate discussion and debate about the impact of the Chief Justice’s judicial opinions, leadership style, and approach to the administration of justice.
The keynote address by Lady Hale, the first female President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, focussed on Chief Justice’s legacy as the first female Chief Justice in Canada and examined her influence internationally. It examined Chief Justice McLachlin’s leadership role and her participation in numerous judicial exchanges and promotion of institution building and capacity building for judicial education. There is a long-standing tradition of Canadian law faculties hosting conferences to mark the retirement of Supreme Court justices. In 2013, CIAJ, with the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law hosted a symposium to celebrate the work of Justice Louise Charron upon her retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada.