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Beverley McLachlin

Beverley McLachlin

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Beverley McLachlin, PC
Queen's Privy Council for Canada
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

 (born 7 September 1943) is the Chief Justice of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the first woman to hold this position. She also serves as a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada.

Early life


Born Beverley Gietz in Pincher Creek, Alberta
Pincher Creek, Alberta
Pincher Creek is a town in the southwest of Alberta, Canada. It is located immediately east of the Canadian Rockies in the centre of ranching country, north of Waterton Lakes National Park.The town's mayor is Ernie Olsen.- History :...

, the eldest child of Ernest Gietz and Eleanora Kruschell, she received a B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 and a M.A.
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 degree in philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and an LL.B.
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 degree (winning the gold medal as top student and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Alberta Law Review
Alberta Law Review
The Alberta Law Review is a peer-reviewed law review or legal journal, published quarterly by the Alberta Law Review Society. The Society is a non-profit organization consisting entirely of students from both the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.The...

) from the University of Alberta
University of Alberta
The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Canada...

. She was called to the Bar of Alberta
Law Society of Alberta
The Law Society of Alberta is the self-regulating body for lawyers in Alberta, Canada.-Purpose:The Law Society is created and governed by the . As a law society, the Law Society is much more than a professional association and every lawyer who practices in Alberta must belong to it...

 in 1969 and to the Bar of British Columbia in 1971. She practised law from 1969 until 1975. From 1974 until 1981 she was an Associate Professor and Professor with tenure
Tenure
Tenure commonly refers to life tenure in a job and specifically to a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.-19th century:...

 at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

.

She has one son from her first marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 to Roderick McLachlin. Her first husband died in 1988 and she remarried in 1992 to Frank McArdle.

Career as a judge


In 1981 she was appointed to the County Court of Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 and then to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of British Columbia
The Supreme Court of British Columbia is the superior trial court for the province of British Columbia. The BCSC hears civil and criminal law cases as well as appeals from the Provincial Court of British Columbia. Including supernumerary judges, there are presently 108 judges...

 of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

. In 1985 she was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal
British Columbia Court of Appeal
The British Columbia Court of Appeal is the highest appellate court in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The BCCA hears appeals from the Supreme Court of British Columbia and a number of boards and tribunals. The BCCA also hears criminal appeals from the Provincial Court of British...

 and in 1988 was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 on 30 March 1989 and was made Chief Justice of Canada on 7 January 2000.

Upon being sworn in to the Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

, she also became a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada together with the other justices of the Supreme Court.

When Governor General
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Louise Clarkson is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 26th since Canadian Confederation....

 was hospitalized for a cardiac pacemaker
Cardiac pacemaker
right|thumb|350px|Image showing the cardiac pacemaker which is the SA nodeThe contraction of heart muscle in all animals with hearts is initiated by chemical impulses. The rate at which these impulses fire controls the heart rate...

 operation on 8 July 2005, Justice McLachlin served as the Deputy of the Governor General of Canada and performed the duties of the Governor General, including giving royal assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 to the Civil Marriage Act
Civil Marriage Act
The Civil Marriage Act was legislation legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada...

, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada
Same-sex marriage in Canada
On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition...

. She relinquished that task when the Governor General returned to good health in late July.

She is the Chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council, the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, and the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

. She is a Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Queen's Privy Council for Canada
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

. She was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor by the Government of France in 2008. On 15 December 2006 she was appointed a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John
Venerable Order of Saint John
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem , is a royal order of chivalry established in 1831 and found today throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States of America, with the world-wide mission "to prevent and relieve sickness and...

.

She has been awarded over 21 honorary Doctor of Laws degrees and is the Honorary Patron of the Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law
Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law
The Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation, founded in February 2008. The Institute engages in professional and educational activities aimed at interdisciplinary, comprehensive and comparative analysis of public affairs...

. She has also been awarded the Yes She Can Award from Balmoral Hall School in 2005 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Judgments



During her early years on the Supreme Court, she was characterized as a judge with libertarian leaning after her dissent in R. v. Keegstra
R. v. Keegstra
R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697 is a landmark freedom of expression decision of the Supreme Court of Canada where the Court upheld the Criminal Code of Canada provision prohibiting the wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group as constitutional under the freedom of expression...

, finding that the hate-speech criminal offences were unconstitutional, and her judgment in R. v. Zundel
R. v. Zundel
R. v. Zundel [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731 is a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court struck down the provision in the Criminal Code of Canada that prohibited publication of false information or news on the basis that it violated the freedom of expression provision under section 2 of the...

where she struck down the criminal offense of spreading false news. This was also seen to an extent in her decision of R. v. Sharpe
R. v. Sharpe
R. v. Sharpe, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 45, 2001 SCC 2, is a Canadian civil rights decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court upheld the child pornography provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada as a valid limitation of the right to freedom of expression under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of...

where she upheld the child pornography criminal provisions, but limited it by excluding imaginative works that are for private use. During this, she also ruled that the laws should apply to fictional depictions, declaring that 'person' would include fictional people as well as real people.
Among her more controversial decisions was her ruling in R. v. Seaboyer
R. v. Seaboyer
R. v. Seaboyer; R. v. Gayme, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court struck-down a rape-shield provision of the Criminal Code of Canada as it violated the right to "full answer and defence" under sections 7 and 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and...

, where she struck down the rape shield law because it violated the right to a fair trial of those accused of sexual assault.

McLachlin has tried to force additional consensus in the Court's decisions, oftentimes writing controversial decisions herself to forge that consensus. In doing so, she is widely recognized for "still writing lots of judgments in her own clear style."

External links