Thursday, May 26, 2016
Headshot of Justice Silberman Abella

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, LLB 1970, received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Yale University on May 24, 2016. Abella is the first Canadian woman to receive the honour from the venerable American university.

Abella has received great distinction in Canada and around the world as a prominent family court judge, law professor, litigator, author and lecturer, and has worked tirelessly for access to justice and pro bono causes. In 1976, she became Canada’s youngest judge. After chairing a Royal Commission, a Labour Board and a Law Reform Commission, she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992 and the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004, the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the SCC.

She was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Her many honours include: the Distinguished Service Award of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario); the International Justice Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation; the Human Relations Award of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews; the Honourable Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award; and the Bora Laskin Award for Distinguished Service in Labour Law.  She has 35 honourary degrees.

The law school’s Jackman Law Building has the moot court room named in her honour.

More information about her outstanding contributions can be read here.


Photo: Philippe Landreville