Honours and Awards

Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Guidelines and Criteria

Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa:

1. Distinction.

The recipient has distinguished himself or herself by having made, directly or indirectly, a significant contribution to the legal profession or the administration of justice.

2. Integrity.

The recipient is of unimpeachable good character with a reputation for high professional integrity and honesty.

3. Professional Achievements.

The recipient is known for significant accomplishments in his or her professional career.

4. Service.

The recipient has made significant volunteer contributions of time and energy to the advancement of the legal profession or the administration of justice, either personally or through a recognized society or organization.

5. Reform.

The recipient has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the law or the improvement of the justice system.

The recipient must satisfy both criteria Nos. 1 and 2, as well as one or more of criteria Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

This award ought to be conferred, save unusual exceptions, to members of a Law Society in Canada or elsewhere as deemed appropriate, or to current or retired members of the judiciary, for contributions made by persons of the caliber outlined in the criteria set forth above. The selection process should be rigorous and of the highest standard. The above criteria and guidelines ought to be applied flexibly, yet reflect the fact that this is the highest award which the Law Society can confer. This award ought to be conferred infrequently.

Since the integrity of decisions about the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa as well as other awards, will reflect upon the Law Society’s honour, the Honours and Awards Committee should be appointed by Benchers and comprise the most senior members of Benchers, including either the President or the immediate Past President, a further Past-President and a lay Bencher. Award recommendations of the Committee must be submitted to Benchers for approval. While Benchers will have authority to veto the nominee for any award, the Benchers will not have authority to substitute names. The Committee will engage in a rigorous process of diligence and due consideration before submitting its recommendations to Benchers for approval.

Gordon M Stirling Distinguished Service Award

Open to members and former members of the Law Society and of the judiciary who have made a substantial contribution to the Law Society, the legal profession or the administration of justice, while at the same time making a significant contribution to the public or one’s community.

The award should take the form of a certificate.

Jean Bruneau, OC, Certificate of Merit

Open to lay persons whom have made a substantial contribution to the Law Society through years of service on Benchers or in some other capacity, or to the legal profession or the administration of justice.

The award should take the form of a certificate. This award should be granted sparingly and must not be compulsory on an annual basis.

Concerning lay Benchers specifically, they should not be considered automatically eligible for such recognition if it is to hold value. Excepting outstanding contributions during a brief term on Benchers, a lay person should have served the equivalent of two terms of four years each and, as well, have been active outside Benchers in the work of the Law Society as, for example, by sitting on the CAC or some other Committee requiring significant contributions of time and effort.

Life Membership

Available as an award to members under Rule 2.18, “upon such terms and subject to such conditions as Benchers may prescribe.”