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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Justice Bertha Wilson

One Woman’s Difference

Bertha Wilson’s appointment to 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 career and passing in 2007 provoked reflection on her contributions to Canadian society and raised the question, what difference do women judges make? Justice Bertha Wilson examines Wilson’s career through three distinct frames – foundations, controversy, and reflections – and a wide range of feminist perspectives. Taken together, these provocative essays paint an intriguing portrait of a complex, controversial woman who made a deep impression on the Canadian legal landscape.

344 pages

Law and Society


Table of Contents

Preface / Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé

Introduction / Kim Brooks

Part 1: Foundations

1 Bertha Wilson’s Practice Years (1958–75):  Establishing a Research Practice and Founding a Research Department in Canada / Angela Fernandez and Beatrice Tice

2 A Traditionalist’s Property Jurisprudence/ Larissa Katz

3 Power, Discretion, and Vulnerability, Justice Wilson and Fiduciary Duty in the Corporate/Commercial Context / Janis Sarra

4 A Few More Spokes to the Wheel: Reasonableness, Fairness, and Justice in Justice Bertha Wilson’s Approach to Contract Law / Moira L. McConnell

5 Giving Emotions Their Due: Justice Bertha Wilson’s Response to Intangible Loss in Contract / Shannon Kathleen O’Byrne

Part 2: Controversy

6 Picking up Where Justice Wilson Left Off: The Tort of Discrimination Revisited / Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey

7 Paradigms of Prostitution: Revisiting the Prostitution Reference / Janine Benedet

8 Contextualizing Criminal Defences: Exploring the Contribution of Justice Bertha Wilson / Isabel Grant and Debra Parkes

9 “Finally I know Where I am Going to Be From”: Culture, Context, and Time in a Look Back at Racine v. Woods / Gillian Calder

10 Challenging Patriarchy or Embracing Liberal Norms?  Justice Wilson’s Child Custody and Access Decisions / Susan B. Boyd

Part 3: Reflections

11 But Was She a Feminist Judge? / Beverley Baines

12 I Agree/Disagree for the Following Reasons: Convergence, Divergence, and Justice Wilson’s “Modest Degree of Creativity” / Marie-Claire Belleau, Rebecca Johnson, and Christina Vinters

13 A Way of Being in the World / Lorna Turnbull

14 Ideas and Transformation: A Reflection on Bertha Wilson’s

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