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ISBN: 9781459414402

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Beverley McLachlin

The Legacy of a Supreme Court Chief Justice

As a judge, Beverley McLachlin has had an unequalled impact on Canadian life. She stands out for her unique ability to stand up for the values and beliefs that reflect the best of Canada and Canadians.

As chief justice, she led the way to assisted suicide legislation, far greater recognition of aboriginal rights and title, allowing safe injection sites for drug users and many other changes that have had a dramatic impact on Canadian life. Less well known is her work to modify the way the Supreme Court judges work together to emphasize collegiality and to encourage judges on the court to pay closer attention to real-world information about the issues they are considering.

Her courageous action to defend the independence of the court and her own personal integrity when it was attacked by Stephen Harper — an incident discussed and documented fully in this book — underlines her strength of character and integrity.

This book sketches Beverley McLachlin’s experiences growing up in rural Alberta, attending university, becoming a lawyer and then a judge. At a time when governments were seeking qualified women for senior positions in Canada’s courts, she was selected by politicians, both Liberal and Conservative, to fill progressively higher positions. Ian Greene and Peter McCormick focus on her time on the Supreme Court offering readers a balanced, informed perspective on the role she defined for herself, remarkable for her prodigious work and the clarity of her decisions. Their background as leading Canadian writers on the role of the judiciary in Canada allows them to offer an independent and readable appreciation of her contributions to Canadian life.


Ian Greene

IAN GREENE is a University Professor Emeritus at York University, where he has taught public policy and administration since 1985. He was the founding director of York's Masters program in Public Policy, Administration and Law. Greene's most recent book is Honest Politics Now (with David P. Shugarman). He is also the author of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Peter McCormick

PETER McCORMICK has taught at Lakehead University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Lethbridge. He retired in 2015. He is the author of Supreme at Last. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


An introduction to the book. An brief overview of what the book covers. ; 6 $0.60


Discusses McLachlin’s early life and childhood in rural Alberta. An overview of her family, school and early influences. ; 15 $1.50


An overview of McLachlin’s university studies and her early career in law. Takes you through her time at the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia. A brief overview … ; 24 $2.40


Describes McLachlin’s career as an associate justice on the Supreme Court between 1989 and 2000. Analyses the key decisions, issues and debates that surrounded the court at that time. ; 32 $3.20


An overview of how and why Beverley McLachlin was named Canada’s first female chief justice. Explains the significance of the decision and provides an analysis of the responsiblities of the … ; 21 $2.10


An assessment of the supreme court’s impact during the years of McLachlin’s leadership. Discusses some of the key decisions the supreme court made during these years. ; 35 $3.50


Overviews McLachlin’s role in the most important decisions as chief justice. Specifically looks at her decisions relating to Indigenous rights, prostitution, and prisoners’ voting rights. ; 25 $2.50


Addresses McLachlin’s role in transforming the way the Supreme Court approach to making decisions. Explains how, under McLachlin’s leadership, the Court became more consensual and … ; 24 $2.40


An overview of the McLachlin Court’s clashes with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Discusses the cases Harper’s government lost in the Supreme Court and the resulting tension between … ; 25 $2.50


Provides a review of McLachlin’s lasting legacy and the continuing influence her work has had on Canadian society. ; 11 $1.10