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 Featured Title
Justice Bertha Wilson
One Woman's Difference
Kim Brooks  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/15/2009
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1732-5    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2010
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1733-2    

344 Pages

Law and Society series


About the Book

Bertha Wilsonís appointment as the first female justice of 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 death in 2007 has, in turn, provoked reflection on her contributions to law and the legal profession and the question, what difference do women judges make?

Justice Bertha Wilson examines Wilsonís career through three distinct frames and from a wide range of feminist perspectives. In "Foundations" contributors evince Wilsonís contributions to the building blocks of the legal system, including to property law, contract law, and fiduciary duties; in "Controversy" they examine Wilsonís role in high-profile, controversial decisions on issues such as prostitution, criminal defence, and child custody. The final section, "Reflections," assesses Wilsonís credentials as a feminist judge and her impact on the legal profession and judicial education.

This timely, evocative book highlights Wilsonís contributions to the Canadian legal landscape and addresses many of the issues that Wilson grappled with in her life and career. A nuanced portrait of a complex woman, it will appeal to lawyers, judges, policy makers, academics, and anyone interested in law and womenís contributions to Canadian society.

About the Author(s)

Kim Brooks is an associate professor and the H. Heward Stikeman Chair in the Law of Taxation in the Faculty of Law at McGill University.

Table of Contents


Preface / Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubť

Introduction / Kim Brooks

Part 1: Foundations

1. Bertha Wilsonís Practice Years (1958-75): Establishing a Research Practice and Founding a Research Department in Canada / Angela Fernandez and Beatrice Tice

2. A Traditionalistís 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 Wilsonís Approach to Contract Law / Moira L. McConnell

5. Giving Emotions Their Due: Justice Bertha Wilsonís Response to Intangible Loss in Contract / Shannon Kathleen OíByrne

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 Wilsonís 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 Wilsonís "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 Wilsonís Contribution to Gender Equality in the Legal Profession / Melina Buckley

15. Taking a Stand on Equality: Bertha Wilson and the Evolution of Judicial Education in Canada / Rosemary Cairns Way and T. Brettel Dawson

16. Bertha Wilson: "Silences" in a Womanís Life Story / Mary Jane Mossman




"Justice Bertha Wilson is an original contribution...this collection of essays reminds us that all women constitute themselves within conditions of overt and more ambient gender discrimination. Through the lens of one ďextraordinaryĒ womanís life, this collection contributes to feminist attempts to develop theories that account for womenís capacity for agency, their negotiations, concessions, and transgressions of normative femininity -- in short, the relative and shifting constraints and opportunities generated through our interactions with gendered social structures."
- Suzanne Bouclin, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2010

"The book is an excellent legacy of Madame Justice Bertha Wilsonís life as a lawyer, jurist, role model, and task force chair. Hers was a life that made a difference."
- Joan Brockman, Canadian Journal of Woman and the Law, Vol. 22, November 2010

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Political Science
Women's Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Justice Bertha Wilson from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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