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Students meet with justices from Ontario’s highest court

Western Law students had a rare opportunity to meet and interact directly with the judges of Ontario’s highest court when 17 justices from the Court of Appeal for Ontario visited the law school on October 19 as part of the Court’s outreach program.

It was a homecoming for Justices Grant Huscroft and Bradley Miller, former professors at Western Law who were appointed to the bench in 2015 and for Justice Eileen Gillese, former Dean of Western Law.

The justices participated in a number of sessions and classes with the students on a variety of topics including family law, environmental law, the judicial decision-making process and effective advocacy skills. 

An access to justice session at the school’s Community Legal Services clinic with Chief Justice Strathy and Justices Simmons, Rouleau and Tulloch provided first-hand accounts of the challenges facing the court system. “‘Access to Justice’ are just words; what you do here at the Clinic gives real meaning to the term,” Chief Justice Strathy told the students.

 The visit to Western Law was part of the Court of Appeal’s outreach visit to London, during which they met with the trial judges from the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice and with lawyers from the region. In addition to these meetings, judges from the Court of Appeal also visited the St. Thomas courthouse, Neighbourhood Legal Services and the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.

“We sit in Toronto, but we are a court for all of Ontario,” said Chief Justice George Strathy. “So it’s important for us to visit with legal communities across the province and discuss the issues being faced in these communities.

I’m impressed with the enthusiasm and engagement of Western Law students. It gives me optimism for the future of the legal profession,” he said.

This article appeared in the Western Law 2017 Alumni Magazine.
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