Thursday, June 25, 2020

Robert Sutherland

The Faculty of Law is saddened to hear of the passing of The Honourable Robert A.F. Sutherland (BA 1950, LLB 1954), Q.C., who died of of post COVID-19 complications in Toronto at the age of 90.

Robert, or known to family, friends and colleagues, as Bob, Rab or RAFS, attended Upper Canada College, the University of Toronto and U of T Law. He transferred to U of T from Osgoode Hall, because he much admired Cecil Augustus Wright and Bora Laskin. He articled, then worked from 1956 with the law firm now known as Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. 

Robert was appointed Queen's Counsel while at BLG before being appointed in 1982 to the Supreme Court of Ontario (now the Superior Court of Justice). He had a long and distinguished 25-year career on the Bench, before retiring in 2005, and was known to be a judge 'soft on pain, hard on contract and lenient with young, first-time offenders'. He was much admired by his judicial colleagues as well as members of the bar for his fairness, thoughtfulness, intellect and integrity. 

Robert was also passionate about theatre, having a close association with the Davis Family and the "Straw Hat Players", U of T’s Hart House Theatre and the Stratford Festival. Before entering the legal profession, he was so enthusiastic about theatre that it nearly led to a career in the Arts. He was asked to stage manager the Winnipeg Ballet in its early days; however, law was his calling, though he remained an active patron and theatre goer. 

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Robert was cremated in a private ceremony, but a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations may be made in his memory to: Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, The David Suzuki Foundation, or to the charity of your choosing.

With files from the Globe and Mail 

Read the full Globe and Mail obituary