The Honourable Madam Justice Sheilah L. Martin, Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, Receives Honorary Fellowship
Madam Justice Martin Joins Sixteen Other Canadian Honorary Fellows
The American College of Trial Lawyers (the College) presented The Honourable Madam Justice Sheilah L. Martin of the Supreme Court of Canada with Honorary Fellowship at its Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday, September 29, 2018.
The American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of Fellows who represent the best of the trial bar in the United States and Canada. There are more than 5,900 Fellows of the College, including Judicial Fellows elected before ascending to the bench, and Honorary Fellows, who have attained eminence in the highest ranks of the legal profession, the judiciary, or public service. Currently, 16 other Canadians are Honorary Fellows in the College.
College President Jeffrey S. Leon, LSM said, “We are so pleased that Justice Martin has joined the ranks of our Honorary Fellows, which historically have included all of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Canada. We welcome her and look forward to her ongoing association with the College.”
Beverley McLachlin Access to Justice Award Committee Chair Guy J. Pratte of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP firm in Ottawa, Ontario introduced Justice Martin. Pratte said: “It’s a singular privilege for me to introduce Supreme Court of Canada Justice, Sheilah Martin, as an Honorary Fellow of the College. It’s especially so because it’s another occasion to celebrate the very close bonds that have been forged between American and Canadian advocates and judges over so many years.”
Continuing his remarks, Pratte said, “Throughout her academic, practicing and judicial career, Madam Justice Martin has been a tireless lecturer worldwide in Canada and in of other countries around the world. She is significantly involved in judicial education programs. Now, as the College is first and foremost a fellowship of advocates, allow me to underscore a one of the prerequisites of a Supreme Court Canada Justice that, to my mind, is of crucial importance for the proper administration of the Justice. That is the ability to foster a collegial and civilized interaction between the Justices that hear cases and the advocates that plead before them. It’s obvious that Justice Martin, as she has in all aspects of her professional career, embodies the exemplary qualities of patience, courtesy and open mindedness that have made the Supreme Court of Canada a model.”
Madam Justice Martin said, “It’s a privilege to be part of such a lustrous company. As an honorary member, I would like to speak about an important topic, and that is advocating for equality. The skill that lawyers, especially trial lawyers, possess is so necessary in modern times. Second, these skills allow lawyers to advocate for advanced equality and to advance equality, which is one of the most pressing issues of our times.
“We need to be vigilant to see what the threat is to an independent judiciary and an independent bar, and it is clear that lawyering skills are needed in service of our civic responsibilities. Complex problems rarely have simple solutions. Einstein has told us no problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it. So a new level of consciousness will need to be created to face the challenge.”
Madam Justice Martin holds a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Bachelor of Common Law from McGill University, a Master of Laws from the University of Alberta, and a Doctorate from the University of Toronto. Justice Martin worked as a researcher and law professor at the University of Calgary from 1982 to 1986. From 1991 to 1996, she was Acting Dean and then Dean of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law. Until her appointment to the bench, Justice Martin practiced criminal and constitutional litigation and then civil litigation in Calgary. She appeared at all levels of court, often at the Supreme Court. Justice Martin was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench for Alberta in 2005. She served as a Deputy Judge for the Supreme Court of Yukon from 2009 to 2016, when she was appointed to the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in December, 2017. She has been involved with judicial education throughout her career.
About The American College of Trial Lawyers
The American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of preeminent members of the Trial Bar from the United States and Canada and is recognized as the leading trial lawyers organization in both countries. Fellowship is extended by invitation only to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. The College is dedicated to maintaining and seeking to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice. The College strongly supports the independence of the judiciary and respect for the courts in the United States and Canada; that independence is fundamental to our democratic societies. For more information about the College, visit its website at www.actl.com.