Thompson Rivers University

Prolific SCC Judge (Ret.) visits TRU Law

November 18, 2016

Assistant Professor Katie Sykes once clerked for The Honourable Louis LeBel (Ret.), who visited TRU Nov.18.

The Honourable Justice Louis LeBel, who served for 14 years on the Supreme Court of Canada before retiring in 2014, praised the diversity of Canada’s justice system during a public talk he delivered at TRU Law on Friday.

In his guest lecture ‘Where the Rivers Meet: The Confluence of Canada’s Legal Systems’ LeBel discussed the challenges of Canada’s legal system in the context of the establishment of both civil and common law traditions.

“I believe the diversity of the legal tradition is not a weakness, rather it recognizes the richness of the legal experience,” he said.

LeBel shared his insight with about 70 students and a handful of faculty members, including Assistant Professor Katie Sykes, who clerked for LeBel at the SCC in 2002-2003 and coordinated his trip to TRU Law.

“Justice LeBel’s contribution to Canadian jurisprudence is extraordinarily deep and extensive,” said Sykes.

“He has profoundly reshaped the law in more than one area by carefully and patiently building foundations and incremental steps towards significant reforms in the law,” she added, noting his reputation for “intellectual seriousness” and his prolific work in administrative law, labour law, private and public international law, Quebec civil law and Aboriginal law.

Following a question period, he told students “as the judges and the lawyers of the future, it is you who will have to keep shaping the walls of our legal system.”

“You’re always adding bricks to the wall.”

Listen to Justice LeBel on the Jim Harrison show, Thursday, November 17:


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