Feldthusen on Justice Beverley Mclachlin: Canadian Tort Law’s Most Influential Judge

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Bruce Feldthusen, University of Ottawa, Common Law Section, is publishing Justice Beverley Mclachlin: Canadian Tort Law’s Most Influential Judge – Who Knew? in Common Law Controversies at the McLachlin Court, Vanessa Gruben, Graham Mayeda and Owen Rees, eds., UToronto Press, 2018) (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.

No judge has had a greater influence on modern Canadian tort law than Justice Beverley McLachlin. During her 28 years on the Supreme Court she sat on all but 13 of the 145 torts cases that came before the Court. Nine of the 13 she missed came during her first year. She was present for every torts hearing from outside Québec between 1992 and 2002, and for every torts hearing from 2002 until she retired in 2017. She was in the majority in 81.8% of the torts cases on which she sat, and gave the majority judgement in 25.7% of them. Her most important contributions were in the development of novel duties of care in negligence based on proximity, and in liability for sexual battery. This article searches for themes and patterns in these judgments, including both the triumphs and the inevitable failures. Either way, it is a remarkable story.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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