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Controversies in the Common Law

Tracing the Contributions of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

edited by Vanessa Gruben, Graham Mayeda & Owen Rees

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Legal History, Constitutional, Canadian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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Beverley McLachlin was the first woman to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Joining the Court while it was establishing its approach to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, McLachlin aided the court in weathering the public backlash against controversial decisions during her tenure.


Controversies in the Common Law explores Chief Justice McLachlin’s approach to legal reasoning, examines her remarkable contributions in controversial areas of the common law, and highlights the role of judicial philosophy in shaping the law. Chapters in this book span thirty years, and deal with a variety of topics – including tort, unjust enrichment, administrative and criminal law. The contributors show that McLachlin had a philosophical streak that drove her to ensure unity and consistency in the common law, and to prefer incremental change over revolution.


Celebrating the career of an influential jurist, Controversies in the Common Law demonstrates how the common law approach taken by Chief Justice McLachlin has been successful in managing criticism and ensuring the legitimacy of the Court.

About the authors

Vanessa Gruben is an associate professor and a member of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Common Law, where she teaches health law and family law. Her research focuses on the legal and ethical aspects of assisted reproduction, including the constitutionality of Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, the legal relationship between egg donors and their physicians, the constitutionality of anonymous sperm and egg donation, access to reproductive technologies, and the existing gaps in provincial law for families created through third-party reproduction. Gruben’s work is funded by the Social Science and Humanities and Research Council, Canadian Blood Services, and the Foundation for Legal Research. She is a co-editor of the fifth edition of Canadian Health Law and Policy (LexisNexis Canada, 2017).


Vanessa Gruben's profile page

Graham Mayeda is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.

Graham Mayeda's profile page

Owen Rees is Deputy Assistant Deputy Attorney General with the Department of Justice Canada and an adjunct lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University.

Owen Rees' profile page

Other titles by Vanessa Gruben


The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19

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contributions by Jane Philpott, Katherine Fierlbeck, Lorian Hardcastle, Aimée Craft, Deborah McGregor, Jeffery Hewitt, Michelle Giroux, David Robitaille, Amir Attaran, Adam R. Houston, Bryan Thomas, Carissima Mathen, Alexandra Flynn, Mel Cappe, Grégoire Webber, Tim Caulfield, Jeffrey Simpson, Paul Daly, Marie-France Fortin, Jennifer A. Quaid, Kumanan Wilson, Teresa Scassa, Kelly Bronson, Jason Millar, Vardit Ravitsky, Daniel Weinstock, Terry Skolnik, Martha Jackman, Delphine Nakache, Yves Le Bouthillier, Martine Lagacé, Linda Garcia, Leilani Farha, Kaitlin Schwan, Adelina Iftene, Jamie Chai Yun Liew, Y.Y. Brandon Chen, Anne Lévesque, Kwame McKenzie, Jennifer A. Chandler, Mona Gupta, Yasmin Khaliq, Simon Hatcher, Olivia Lee, Tess Sheldon, Ravi Malhotra, Pat Armstrong, Hugh Armstrong, Ivy Bourgeault, Katherine Lippel, Louise Bélanger-Hardy, Vanessa Gruben, Sarah Berger Richardson, Anis Chowdhury, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Sam Halabi, Chidi Oguamanam, Steven J. Hoffman, Patrick Fafard, Céline Castets-Renard, Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, E. Richard Gold, Jeremy de Beer, Matthew Herder & Jason W. Nickerson

Is Two-Tier Health Care the Future?

edited by Colleen M. Flood & Bryan Thomas
contributions by Sara Allin, Sarah Barry, Sara Burke, Danielle Dawson, Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Stephen Duckett, Noushon Farmanara, Vanessa Gruben, Jeremiah Hurley, Martha Jackman, Bridget Johnston, Gregory P. Marchildon, Fiona McDonald, Rachel McKay, Jonathan Mullen, Zeynep Or, Aurélie Pierre, Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, David Rudoler, Achim Schmid, Rikke Siersbaek, Stephen Thomas & Carolyn Hughes Tuohy

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contributions by Vanessa Gruben, Alana Cattapan, Angela Cameron, Karen Busby, Isabel Côté, Maria De Koninck, Katy Fulfer, Kévin Lavoie, Mark C. McLeod, Christine Overall, Angel Petropanagos & Pamela M. White

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contributions by Eric Tucker, James Muir, Bruce Ziff, Jamie Benidickson, Nicholas Blomley, Angela Cameron, Angela Chaisson, Patricia Farnese, Philip Girard, Vanessa Gruben, Douglas C. Harris, Eran Kaplinsky, C. Ian Kyer, Frank Luce, Jeremy Martin, Margaret E. McCallum, Mary Jane Mossman, Jim Phillips, Eric H. Reiter & Karen Schucher

Other titles by Graham Mayeda