Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

June 17, 2008 06:59 ET

Law Society Presents Honorary Doctorate to the Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C., At Call to Bar Ceremony

LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2008) - The Law Society of Upper Canada presented a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), to the Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C., the former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, at a ceremony held at the London Convention Centre on June 16. The event was held to welcome the province's newest lawyers to the profession.

Law Society Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie presented the honorary doctorate to Mr. Osborne in recognition of his many contributions to the administration of justice throughout his distinguished career.

The Law Society called 89 new lawyers to the Bar during the event. The event is the second of five such ceremonies being held in the province this month.

Each year, as part of its call ceremonies, the Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished persons who exemplify the values held in esteem by the legal profession. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the graduating classes as they begin their careers.

"We honour Mr. Osborne today for his professionalism and integrity," said Treasurer MacKenzie.

The Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C. has garnered great respect during all stages of his distinguished career, first as a litigator, throughout his tenure as Associate Chief Justice of Ontario and most recently as the leader of the provincial government's Civil Justice Reform Project.

Mr. Osborne was called to the Ontario Bar in 1959 after receiving his L.L.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario. He practised in Kitchener from the time of his call until his appointment to the Supreme Court of Ontario, High Court of Justice in 1978. He was subsequently appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1990 and Associate Chief Justice of Ontario in 1999.

After retiring from the Bench, he continued to serve the public and the profession. He was appointed the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario in 2001. A position he held until July 2007. In 2003, he was appointed by the City of Toronto to review partnership proposals involving the Union Station revitalization. Also in 2003, he was appointed by the Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission to examine and report on the Commission's structure in light of its newly granted powers.

Mr. Osborne recently delivered the seminal Civil Justice Reform Project report and recommendations. In 2006, Mr. Osborne was asked by then Attorney General Michael Bryant to lead the Civil Justice Reform Project and propose options to reform the civil justice system to make it more accessible and affordable for Ontarians.

An accomplished athlete, Mr. Osborne's passion for sports has driven much of his extensive community work. In 1956, he became a member of not only the Ontario Senior Championship Team, but also the Canadian Olympic Basketball Team at the Melbourne Olympics. In 2000, Mr. Osborne revisited Sydney, Australia, to participate in carrying the Olympic torch. Mr. Osborne is past president of the Canadian Amateur Swimming Association (Ontario Section), a former director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Squash Club and a former director of the Children's International Summer Villages (Waterloo). He is also a former director of the Ontario Motor League (Kitchener), Young Men's Christian Association (Waterloo) and the Advocates' Society.

Following Mr. Osborne's address, Treasurer MacKenzie congratulated the new lawyers and offered some words of advice: "You have joined a noble profession... We are committed to the rule of law in a democratic society. We are also committed to an independent Bar and an independent judiciary." He also told lawyers that the profession has a duty to promote access to justice for all, through legal aid, pro bono work and other means.

The Law Society of Upper Canada governs the legal profession in Ontario in the public interest by ensuring that its members meet high standards of learning, competence and ethics.

The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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