Justice Tamarin Dunnet first recipient of CCIAWJ Lifetime Achievement Award

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Biography of the Honourable Justice Tamarin Dunnet

by Justice Lois Hoegg
Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal

Justice Tamarin DunnetThe CCIAWJ Communications Committee wishes to introduce Justice Tamarin Dunnet, the first recipient of the CCIAWJ Lifetime Achievement Award.  Justice Dunnet was presented her award at the CCIAWJ’s June 2017 conference on Safety and Security of Women in Toronto.

Justice Dunnet was a star even as a student at Dalhousie University where she was President of the women’s residence Sheriff Hall and President of the University’s Panhellenic Council while receiving her post-secondary and legal education.  Following her call to the Ontario bar, she practiced civil litigation at Thomson Rogers in Toronto, focusing on personal injury and medical malpractice law.  Her leadership as an advocate earned her the Canadian Bar Association Dedicated Service Award and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario President’s Award, and as a judge she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for her contribution to public life.

Justice Dunnet was appointed a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1990.  Since then she has been an active contributor to National Judicial Institute educational programs.

Over the past twenty years, Justice Dunnet has worked tirelessly through the IAWJ and the CCIAWJ to support women law students, especially women in developing countries and Indigenous women, and to train women judges around the world in the jurisprudence of equality, human rights and the rule of law.  She has served on the CCIAWJ’s Board of Directors as Secretary and International Director, and has been involved in IAWJ programs such as “Women and Girls as Armed Combatants,” “Justice for Vulnerable Witnesses”, and “Challenges for Women Judges in the Middle East and North Africa”, and CCIAWJ programs including “Women and Girls in the Justice System” and “Judging Women: Aging, Mental Health and Culture”.

Justice Dunnet was elected IAWJ Regional Director for North America on the International Board of Directors in 2008.  In 2010, she was elected to the Executive Council and served as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice-President, and in 2016, she was elected to the IAWJ Board of Managerial Trustees in Washington.  She is the only Canadian member of the Board and serves on the Finance Committee. Her invitations to attend the United Nations 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, to speak at the American Bar Association’s International Law Section on “The Impact of Judges’ Gender and Race on Judicial Decision-Making”,  to attend the Sir Richard May lectures on International Law and International Courts in The Hague in 2011, and in May 2017, to attend the Annual General Meeting of the International Legal Assistance Consortium, a worldwide consortium representing judges, prosecutors, lawyers and academics providing legal assistance to post-conflict countries indicate the international community’s respect for her work.

Justice Dunnet is married to the Honourable Justice Patrick Moore.  They have three children and four grandchildren.

Justice Dunnet’s words of gratitude on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award aptly demonstrate her dedication to our organization, and her ability, warmth and wisdom:

I am truly honoured and deeply touched by this award.  Chief Justice, I am humbled by your extremely kind words.

While the phrase “lifetime achievement” is very gratifying, it also has a slightly worrying pre-obituary tone.  And I am not ready for that yet!  As Robert Frost said, “I have miles to go before I sleep.”

Rather than a “lifetime achievement”, I consider my work with the IAWJ to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

This great honour would not have been possible without my wonderful colleagues in the Canadian Chapter who suggested to me in 2006 that I take on the role of International Director and who have continued to support me on the International Board and as International Secretary-Treasurer and Vice-President.

This incredible experience has allowed me to grow personally and professionally.  I would encourage each one of you to consider offering your considerable judicial talent to the IAWJ and its commitment to educate and train women judges around the world in the jurisprudence of equality and human rights.

As I have discovered, this opportunity will provide you with new and exciting challenges and allow you to see the world through different eyes, different cultures and different judicial systems, many of which do not respect the rule of law.

In my interactions with some of these judges, I was reminded of the words of former United States’ Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, who was a huge inspiration to me and a great supporter of the IAWJ.  She said,

The key to peace is the rule of law.  The key to the rule of law is an impartial judiciary.  And the key to an impartial judiciary is the participation of women.

I am so grateful for this honour and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the IAWJ through my work on the Board of Managerial Trustees.  Thank you all for supporting me.

We are very proud of Justice Dunnet!

 


Notice biographique de l’honorable juge Tamarin Dunnet

Lois Hoegg, juge de la Cour d’appel de Terre-Neuve et Labrador 

Justice Tamarin DunnetLe comité des communications du Chapitre canadien de l’Association internationale des femmes juges (CCIAWJ) souhaite présenter la juge Tamarin Dunnet, première récipiendaire du prix pour l’œuvre d’une vie du CCIAWJ, distinction qui lui a été décernée en juin 2017 à la conférence sur la sécurité des femmes qui s’est tenue à Toronto.

La juge Dunnet était déjà une vedette lorsqu’elle étudiait le droit à l’Université Dalhousie, où elle a été présidente de la résidence des femmes Sheriff Hall et du conseil panhellénique de l’université. Après avoir été admise au Barreau de l’Ontario, elle a exercé dans le domaine des affaires civiles chez Thomson Rogers, à Toronto, où elle s’occupait surtout de litige en matière de lésions corporelles et de fautes médicales. Son esprit d’initiative en tant qu’avocate lui a valu le prix pour services distingués de l’Association du Barreau canadien et le prix de la présidente de la Women’s Law Association of Ontario. En tant que juge, elle a reçu la médaille du jubilé d’or de la Reine Elizabeth II pour sa contribution à la vie publique.

Madame Dunnet a été nommée juge de la Cour supérieure de justice de l’Ontario en 1990. Depuis, elle prend une part active aux programmes de formation de l’Institut national de la magistrature.

Au cours des vingt dernières années, par l’intermédiaire de l’Association internationale des femmes juges (IAWJ), la juge Dunnet a œuvré sans relâche en faveur des étudiantes en droit, en particulier celles des pays en voie de développement et les étudiantes autochtones, et en faveur de la formation des femmes juges du monde entier en matière de droit à l’égalité, de droit de la personne et de la primauté du droit. Elle a été secrétaire et directrice internationale au conseil d’administration du CCIAWJ et a pris part à divers programmes de l’IAWJ, dont ceux qui portent sur « les femmes et les filles combattantes armées », « la justice pour les témoins vulnérables » et « les difficultés auxquelles se butent les femmes juges du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord ». Elle a aussi contribué à des programmes du CCIAWJ, dont ceux qui portent sur « les femmes et les filles dans le système judiciaire » et « les jugements visant les femmes : vieillissement, santé mentale et culture ».

En 2008, la juge Dunnet a été élue directrice régionale de l’IAWJ pour l’Amérique du Nord au conseil d’administration international. En 2010, elle a été élue au conseil exécutif, dont elle a été secrétaire-trésorière et vice-présidente. En 2016, elle a été élue membre du Board of Managerial Trustees de l’IAWJ à Washington. Elle en est le seul membre canadien et elle fait partie du comité des finances. Le fait que la juge Dunnet ait été invitée à assister à la 52e séance de la Commission de la condition de la femme des Nations Unies, à prendre la parole devant la section du droit international de l’American Bar Association sur « l’impact du sexe et de l’ethnie des juges sur leurs décisions », à assister aux conférences de Sir Richard May sur le droit international et les tribunaux internationaux à La Haye en 2011 et, en mai 2017, à prendre part à l’assemblée générale annuelle de l’International Legal Assistance Consortium, un groupement mondial représentant des juges, des procureurs, des avocats et des universitaires offrant de l’assistance juridique à des pays dans l’après-conflit, témoigne du respect de la communauté internationale envers son travail.

La juge Dunnet est mariée au juge Patrick Moore. Ils ont trois enfants et quatre petits-enfants.

La reconnaissance qu’elle a exprimée en ces mots en recevant le prix pour l’œuvre d’une vie démontre avec justesse son dévouement envers notre organisation, ainsi que son talent, sa chaleur humaine et sa sagesse :

« C’est vraiment un honneur pour moi de recevoir ce prix. J’en suis profondément émue. Madame la Juge en chef, c’est avec humilité que j’accueille vos paroles extrêmement aimables.

L’expression “œuvre d’une vie” est certes très gratifiante, mais elle a également un léger ton prénécrologique inquiétant. Et je ne suis pas encore prête pour une nécrologie ! Comme Robert Frost l’a dit : “J’ai du chemin à parcourir avant de m’endormir.”

Je considère mon œuvre au sein de l’IAWJ comme la chance d’une vie plutôt que l’œuvre d’une vie.

Ce grand honneur ne m’aurait pas été fait, n’eussent été mes merveilleuses collègues du chapitre canadien de l’organisation, qui m’ont suggéré en 2006 d’assumer les fonctions de directrice internationale et qui n’ont cessé de me soutenir au conseil d’administration international et dans mes fonctions de secrétaire-trésorière et vice-présidente internationale.

Cette expérience incroyable m’a permis de m’épanouir sur les plans personnel et professionnel. J’encourage chacun de vous à envisager de mettre votre immense talent de magistrat au service de l’IAWJ et de son attachement à éduquer et à former les femmes juges du monde entier à la jurisprudence de l’égalité et des droits de la personne.

J’ai découvert que cette chance vous donnera des défis nouveaux et palpitants et vous permettra de voir le monde d’un regard différent, à travers des cultures et des systèmes judiciaires différents, dont beaucoup ne respectent pas la primauté du droit.

Dans mes échanges avec certaines juges, je me suis souvenue de ce qu’a dit l’ancienne juge de la Cour suprême des États-Unis Sandra Day O’Connor, qui a été pour moi une grande source d’inspiration et une grande partisane de l’IAWJ. Voici ce qu’elle a dit :

“Le secret de la paix est la primauté du droit. Le secret de la primauté du droit est l’impartialité des magistrats. Et le secret de l’impartialité des magistrats est la participation des femmes.”

Je suis très reconnaissante pour cet honneur et je me réjouis à la perspective d’apporter encore quelque chose à l’IAWJ grâce à mon travail au sein du Board of Managerial Trustees. Merci à vous toutes de votre appui. »

Nous sommes très fières de vous, Madame la Juge !

International Women’s Day looks at whether women judges have made a difference

Have women judges really made a difference? This question echoed the title of Justice Bertha Wilson’s famous speech at Osgoode Hall Law School in 1990, and was posed to the panellists at the International Women’s Day Forum held Monday March 2 at the Law Society. 

Co-hosted by the Law Society, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Feminist Legal Analysis Section of the Ontario Bar Association, the Women’s Law Association of Ontario and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the panel was chaired by the Hon. Justice Geraldine Sparrow, and featured Professor Jamie Cameron from Osgoode Hall Law School, Mary Anne Eberts, Barrister & Solicitor, Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Hon. Justice Micheline Rawlins.

Justice Wilson argued that the law has no gender, said Professor Cameron, who painted a sensitive picture of the judge who was the first woman to be appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. A modest and unassuming woman, she never thought of herself as a feminist, but she was appointed to the bench at the same time the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted and women’s rights cases were moving through the courts.

Two of Justice Wilson’s important decisions included the Morgentaler case, which decriminalized abortion, and R v Lavallee, which allowed the defence of battered wife syndrome in a murder trial.

Do women judges make a difference? The question is a relevant one, as women now represent 32 per cent of the bench in the Ontario Court of Justice and the federal courts. The hypothesis that women make judgments contextually with consideration of the effect on people, while men are more abstract in making their judgments, was largely dismissed. Indeed, Justice Sparrow cited Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as rejecting the notion that women on the bench are more sensitive as a Victorian view of how women’s personalities operate.

Mary Anne Eberts reminded the audience that Canadian women were enfranchised in the 1920s, except Quebec, which was not until the 1940s. She stated that if women were not judges, “they would forever be subalterns of the profession,” and true equality depends on women having access to the bench. Women judges have been involved in seminal decisions that have affected women, including Morgentaler, Lavallee and Daigle, and in each instance, brought their experience to the decision-making process.

A recent study by Stribopoulos and Yhaha found some statistical evidence that in criminal cases involving sexual or domestic violence, as well as in family cases involving custody and support disputes, judges of each sex tend to favour their own gender.

However, they also found that in mixed panels, these effects are moderated, supporting the value of gender diversity on the bench. Sonia Lawrence extrapolated from this to support the view that greater diversity on the bench in terms of race and gender will better serve the public while at the same time increasing the confidence of the public in the justice system.

Justice Rawlins, the first Black woman appointed to the bench, wrapped up the afternoon program with personal observations of her experience. She encouraged women lawyers to apply to be judges, and said that judges must bring their personal perspectives to the bench without fear of being called less than impartial, and that the definition of perspective does not necessarily equate to male privilege.

At the reception following the event, Justice MacLeod Beliveau reiterated this sentiment, saying that greater diversity on the bench means that different life experiences are brought to the decisions that are made. “We are not a homogeneous society and we need to have increased sensitivity to the diverse experiences of those before the courts,” she said.

Women Benchers appointed to the Bench

In 1897, the Law Society of Upper Canada became the first body to permit women to practise law. In 1943, a Canadian woman, Justice Kinnear, became the first woman judge in the British Commonwealth.

Thirteen women benchers have been appointed to the bench, and their success was celebrated on International Women’s Day. They are (with the years they served as Law Societybenchers):

Justice Judith Oyen Bell (1982-86)
Justice Mary Lynne Hogan (1986-87)
Justice Helen MacLeod-Beliveau (1987-89)
Justice Frances Kiteley (1987-95)
Justice Denise Bellamy (1988-97)
Justice Sandra Chapnik (1990-91)
Justice Joan Lax (1991-96)
Justice Carole Curtis (1991-2008)
Justice Harriet Sachs (1995-99)
Justice Nancy Backhouse (1995-2000)
Justice Eleanore Cronk (1995-2001)
Justice Kim Carpenter-Gunn (1995-2008)
Justice Bonnie Warkentin (2003-08)

For the original publication click here.

Honourable Danielle Côté

Spring 2011

The Honourable Danielle Côté was recently elevated to the most esteemed position of Juge en chef adjointe chambre criminelle et pénale –  Associate chief justice criminal and penal division Cour du Québec.

This is not only exciting for women judges around the world, but also for the International Association of Women Judges Canadian Chapter as she is also presently holding the position of President for the IAWJCC.