Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

May 28, 2009 11:47 ET

The Law Society of Upper Canada: Five Distinguished Ontarians to Receive Honorary Doctorates

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 28, 2009) - A former chief justice, a World War II fighter pilot, a former deputy minister, and two Superior Court of Justice judges will each receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.), from the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The honorary doctorates are awarded to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in service and benefits to the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. The presentations will be made at the Law Society's June Call to the Bar ceremonies, which welcome new lawyers to the profession. Honorary LL.D. recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the graduating classes.

The five 2009 honorary LL.D. recipients are: the Honourable Mr. Justice Sidney B. Linden, Mr. George M. Thomson, the Honourable Madam Justice Harriet Sachs, Major-General Richard Rohmer, and the Honourable Madam Justice Frances Kiteley.

Mr. Justice Sidney B. Linden was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1966. He practised as a lawyer, primarily in criminal and administrative law, appearing at all levels of court until his appointment in 1980 as the first Police Complaints Commissioner for Metropolitan Toronto and chair of the Police Complaints Board. In 1985, he was selected as the first executive director of the Canadian Auto Workers Prepaid Legal Services Plan. In 1987, he was appointed as Ontario's first Information and Privacy Commissioner and, in 1990, Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice. As Chief Justice, he reformed and modernized the court. From 1999 to 2003, he served as the first chair of the board of Legal Aid Ontario. In 2003, he was appointed Commissioner of the Ipperwash Inquiry. His report, released in 2007, was hailed as a landmark report on Aboriginal, police and government relations. In 2007, he was appointed Ontario's first Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

Mr. Justice Linden will receive his honorary degree at the Call ceremony in London on June 15.

Mr. George M. Thomson has enjoyed a distinguished career in public service, serving as the province's Deputy Minister of Citizenship, Deputy Minister of Labour and Deputy Attorney General. Federally, he held the positions of Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General. He is currently the senior director and former executive director of the National Judicial Institute, where he plays a leadership role in international justice reform projects, including projects with the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Philippines Judicial Academy, the Chinese Supreme People's Court and the Russian Judicial Academy. Over the course of his career, he has been called upon to chair a number of public inquiries and provincial reviews, including an inquiry into reform of social assistance policies and programs and a review of the appeal process in Ontario's regulated professions.

Mr. Thomson will receive his honorary degree at the Call ceremony in Ottawa on June 17.

Madam Justice Harriet Sachs was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in 1998. A champion of women in the profession, she was a partner in one of the first all-women law firms in Ontario - Cornish King Sachs and Waldman. From 1995 to 1998, she served as a bencher of the Law Society, chairing the Admissions and Equity Committee, the Bar Admission and Reform Task Force and the Women in the Legal Profession Committee. She also co-authored the Bicentennial Report and Recommendations on Equity Issues in the Legal Profession. She was one of the organizers of the first conference of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and is a past president of The Advocates' Society.

Madam Justice Sachs will receive her honorary degree at the Call ceremony in Toronto on June 18.

Major-General Richard Rohmer, O.C., C.M.M., D.F.C., O. Ont., K.St.J., C.D., Of.L., Q.C., A.deC., LL.B, LL.D., and a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, is Canada's most decorated citizen, a distinguished World War II fighter pilot, a D-Day veteran and served as Chief of Reserves of the Canadian Forces (1978 - 1981). He is an Honorary Aide de Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. He is also an award-winning best-selling author of some 30 novels and non-fiction books. Currently a partner with the Toronto-based law firm of Rohmer & Fenn, he practises civil litigation with a focus on aviation law and land use matters, and is a mediator and arbitrator with ADR Chambers. He served as chancellor of the University of Windsor from 1978 through 1989 and from 1996 through 1997. He chaired the influential Royal Commission on Book Publishing from 1970 through 1972, and was counsel to the Robarts Royal Commission on Metropolitan Toronto.

Major-General Rohmer will receive his LL.D. at the Call ceremony in Toronto on June 18.

Madam Justice Frances Kiteley was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in 1995. After her Call to the Bar in 1976, she began a successful practice in civil litigation and family law. She served as a bencher of the Law Society from 1987 to 1995, chairing the Women in the Legal Profession Committee and the Legal Aid Committee. In addition to her judicial duties, she is actively involved in court technology issues. She was Ontario's representative on the Judges Technology Advisory Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council, a judicial member of the Ontario E-Filing Implementation Committee, and she is currently the co-chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology. She is also a founding member and chair of the Ontario Justice Education Network Board. In 1994, she was awarded the Law Society Medal.

Madam Justice Kiteley will receive her honorary degree at the Call ceremony in Toronto on June 19.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate 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 act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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