Justice Bertha Wilson: One Woman’s Difference
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Bertha Wilson’s appointment as the first female justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1982 capped off a career of firsts. Wilson had been the first woman lawyer and partner at a prominent Toronto law firm and the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Her death in 2007 has, in turn, provoked reflection on her contributions to law and the legal profession and raised the question, what difference do women judges make?
Justice Bertha Wilson examines Wilson’s career through three distinct frames and from a wide range of feminist perspectives. In “Foundations” contributors evince Wilson’s contributions to the building blocks of the legal system, including to property law, contract law, and fiduciary duties; in “Controversy” they examine Wilson’s role in high-profile, controversial decisions on issues such as prostitution, criminal defence, and child custody. The final section, “Reflections,” assesses Wilson’s credentials as a feminist judge and her impact on the legal profession and judicial education.
This timely, evocative book highlights Wilson’s contributions to the Canadian legal landscape and addresses many of the issues that Wilson grappled with in her life and career. A nuanced portrait of a complex woman, it will appeal to lawyers, judges, policy makers, academics, and anyone interested in law and women’s contributions to Canadian society.
A nuanced portrait of a complex woman, it will appeal to lawyers, judges, policy makers, academics, and anyone interested in law and women’s contributions to Canadian society.
feminism, social justice, judging, gender
Judges | Law and Gender | Law and Politics | Legal History
Kim Brooks, ed, Justice Bertha Wilson: One Woman's Difference (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009).