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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Claire L’Heureux-Dubé

A Life

Both lionized and vilified, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé has shaped the Canadian legal landscape – and in particular its highest court. Only the second woman on the Supreme Court of Canada, L’Heureux-Dubé anchored her approach to cases in their social, economic, and political context. This compelling biography takes a similar tack, tracing the experience of a francophone woman within the male-dominated Quebec legal profession – and within the primarily anglophone world of the Supreme Court. In the process, Constance Backhouse enhances our understanding of the Canadian judiciary, the creation of law, the Quebec socio-legal environment, and the nation’s top court.

768 pages

Law and Society

Table of Contents




1 Ewanchuk

Family Heritage and Childhood

2 Lineage: Of Elephants, Literary Salons, the Military, and Mozart

3 Early Years: Quebec City and Rimouski

4 Growing Up in Rimouski

Early Education

5 Life as a Pensionnaire with the Ursulines, 1937–43

6 Collège Notre-Dame-de-Bellevue: Classical Studies for a Baccalauréat, 1943–46

A Legal Education

7 The Decision to Go to Law School, 1946–48

8 Laval Law School Student Body, 1948–52

9 Laval Law School Faculty and Curriculum, 1948–52

10 Life Outside of Law School, 1949–52

Law Practice

11 Entry: A Law Firm Job, 1952

12 Sam Bard: The Man behind the Employment Offer

13 Business Law Practice

14 Marriage and Children

15 Family Law: The Later Years of Practice

16 Practising as a Woman

Quebec Superior Court

17 New Career Directions: “No” to Electoral Politics, “Yes” to the Bench, 1972–73

18 First Months on the Bench, February to October 1973

19 Immigration Commission of Inquiry, October 1973 to January 1976

20 Quebec Superior Court, 1976–79

21 Family Tragedy: Arthur’s Death, 11 July 1978

Quebec Court of Appeal

22 Appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal, 1979

23 Appellate Judging, 1979–87

24 More Family Traumas

Supreme Court of Canada

25 Appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, 1987

26 Early Days on the Supreme Court of Canada

27 Continuing Isolation on the Supreme Court

28 Fifteen Years of Jurisprudence, 1987–2002: “The Great Dissenter”

Selected Cases

29 Sexual Assault: Seaboyer, 1991

30 Family Law and Spousal S

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