Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier (1928-2009) was appointed Wainwright Senior Fellow in 2004. The year before, he had retired after a brilliant career as a judge, beginning with his appointment to the Superior Court of Quebec (1974), then to the Court of Appeal of Quebec, until he was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1989. He holds a B.C.L. from McGill (1951). He occupied positions of leadership in the legal community, including President of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (1986-1987), of which he was a lifetime member, Chair of the Canadian Judges Conference (1988-1989), and a member of the Quebec Civil Code Revision Office (for the contract of enterprise, 1969-1972).
After he retired from the Court, he was counsel with the firm McCarthy Tétrault and chair of the board of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, which is associated with the Faculty of Law of McGill.
Honorary doctorates from McGill (1990) and the Université de Montréal (2002), the Order of Canada (as companion, 2007) and the Ordre des palmes académiques de France (as chevalier, 1988), are some of the distinctions he was awarded for his exceptional contribution to law and to the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.
Justice Gonthier Memorial Conference: Responsibility, Fraternity and Sustainability in Law
May 20-21, 2011
Organized by McGill's Faculty of Law, in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Montreal, the symposium focused on the central themes of the late Justice Gonthier's legal worldview, bringing together more than fifty Canadian and foreign speakers, including three judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, five judges from Canadian appeal courts, one member of the French Constitutional Council and a former vice-president of the International Court of Justice.
About Justice Charles D. Gonthier
[from the bio published by symposium organizers] Charles Gonthier (1928-2009) was known to the legal community as a gentleman, scholar, philosopher and original thinker. The basis of his worldview was founded upon the ideas of fraternity and community. As a judge, he sought for novel and contextual solutions to a wide variety of legal problems, gaining inspiration from values that are essential to our society. In his research, he developed these values in several legal domains, in common law as well as Quebec civil law. In a context which focuses on the immediate needs of the individual, Charles Gonthier was concerned with the responsible development of a just society in the long term. As such, he devoted much of his later years to the area of sustainable development law.