Beverley McLachlin
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Beverley McLachlin

The Legacy of a Supreme Court Chief Justice

By Ian Greene and Peter McCormick

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As a judge, Beverley McLachlin is known for her unique ability to stand up for the values and beliefs that reflect the best of Canadaand Canadians. As chief justice, she led the way to assisted suicide legislation, greater recognition of aboriginal rights and title, safe injection sites for drug users and many other changes that have had a dramatic impact on Canadian life. Less well known is how she encouraged collegiality within the Supreme Court and led Canadian judges to pay closer attention to real-world information about the issues they are considering.

Her defence of the independence of the court and her own personal integrity when she was attacked by Stephen Harper — an incident discussed and documented in this book — underline her strength of character and integrity.

This book sketches Beverley McLachlin's experiences growing up in rural Alberta, attending university, becoming a lawyer and then a judge. At a time when governments were seeking qualified women for senior positions in Canada's courts, she was selected by politicians, both Liberal and Conservative, to fill progressively higher positions. As leading Canadian writers on the role of the judiciary in Canada, Ian Greene and Peter McCormick offer readers a balanced, informed perspective on her time on the Supreme Court — a role that was remarkable for her prodigious work and the clarity of her decisions.


  1. Early Years
  2. Edmonton to Vancouver
  3. McLachlin on the Supreme Court: 1989–2000
  4. To the Centre Chair — McLachlin and the Chief Justiceship
  5. The Historical Impact of the McLachlin Court
  6. McLachlin’s Leading Decisions as Chief Justice
  7. Dissident in Search of Consensus
  8. Showdown: Prime Minister vs. Chief Justice
  9. Footprints in the Sand? Or Handprints in Cement?





Ian Green and Peter McCormick have given us a first in writing about the Supreme Court of Canada: an inquiry into the difference a chief justice can make in the way the court functions and serves the country.

- Peter H. Russell, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto

Greene and McCormick's masterful biography brims with insight into McLachlin's unparalleled career as a jurist and leader of the Supreme Court of Canada.

- Jamie Cameron, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

An insightful and engaging look at a Supreme Court judge who helped change Canada. Anyone interested in the life and judicial career of Beverly McLachlin should start here.

- Sean Fine, Justice Writer, Globe and Mail

"This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about Canadian history"

- Tom Sandborn Vancouver Sun

"Beverley McLachlin is a good primer on the Supreme Court of Canada and its relation to Canada’s laws and by implication its citizens."

- The Ormsby Review

Beverley McLachlin: the Legacy of a Supreme Court Chief Justice is written in an accessible style and will be of interest not only to jurists, but to readers interested in how case law is made; the workings of the Supreme Court of Canada and the inter-workings between government and judiciary; and in the life, career and legacy of a remarkable woman.

- Canadian Lawyer

IAN GREENE is a University Professor Emeritus at York University, where he has taught public policy and administration since 1985. He was the founding director of York's Masters program in Public Policy, Administration and Law. Greene's most recent book is Honest Politics Now (with David P. Shugarman). He is also the author of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

PETER McCORMICK has taught at Lakehead University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Lethbridge. He retired in 2015. He is the author of Supreme at Last. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 232 pages
Publication Date: 16th September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414402
Format: 9in x 6in

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414471
Format: PDF

Binding: Electronic book text, 232 pages
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414419
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:  BIO020000, BIO022000, LAW111000, POL056000
Imprint: Lorimer


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