Canadian Supreme Court justice to visit UH Law School

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Mar 25, 2014

The Honorable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada
The Honorable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada

The Honorable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada will visit Hawai’i during the week of  March 29-April 4 as part of a special Bright Jurist-in-Residence program at the UH Law School.

Justice Abella, who was appointed to the Canadian Supreme Court in 2004 after a path-breaking legal career, will give a public talk at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.

She and her husband, distinguished Canadian historian Irving Abella, are guests of the William S. Richardson School of Law.

The Bright International Jurist program was launched in 2007 to bring outstanding judges from other countries to Hawai‘i. Justice Abella will teach two classes at the Law School. She will also meet with faculty and students, as well as federal and state judges, members of the Federal Bar Association and Hawai‘i Women Lawyers, among others.

Historian Irving Abella, who recently retired as a professor at York University in Toronto, will give a talk at the UH Mānoa History Department Library, Sakamaki Hall A201, on “The Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, and Canada,” at noon on Tuesday, April 1.

Said Law School Dean Avi Soifer, “We are thrilled to have such distinguished guests with us this year. The Abellas are known for the great work of their productive and influential minds, but they stand out for their hearts and for their down-to-earth qualities as well.”

Justice Abella earned a B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and practiced civil and criminal litigation until her appointment in 1976 to the Ontario Family Court, and then to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992. In 1984, she served as sole Commissioner of Canada’s Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, creating the term and concept of “employment equity.”

The theories of “equality” and “discrimination” that she developed in her report were adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada and implemented by the Canadian government as well as by the governments of New Zealand, Northern Ireland and South Africa.

Justice Abella has served as a visiting law professor at McGill University, and as chair of numerous government boards and commissions dealing with human rights, labor relations, and access to legal services for the disabled. She was the Mackenzie King Distinguished Visiting Professor at Harvard and a Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the University of Toronto Law School.  She has been awarded 32 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

She has written or co-edited four books, more than 80 articles, and has been tapped for the Harlan Lecture at Princeton, the Ryan Lecture at Georgetown, and the Anderson Lecture at Yale.

Justice Abella was born in a Displaced Person’s Camp in Germany after World War II. Her parents, Jacob and Fanny Silberman, emigrated to Canada in 1950 as refugees when Rosalie was four years old.

Professor Irving Abella is the author of several books about Canadian history.  He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

For more information, visit: