Interview – Legal Expert – The Honourable Justice Ian Binnie – Part 3 of 5

Charter Project filmed and edited interviews with legal experts who can offer unique historical perspectives on The Charter, its inception, and how it affects the everyday lives of Canadians. This is our third of five excerpts from our interview with The Honourable Justice Ian Binnie, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.



Ian Binnie received a B.A. from McGill University in 1960, an LL.B. from Cambridge University in 1963, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1965 and an LL.M. in 1988. He practised litigation at Wright & McTaggart and its successor firms until 1982. From 1982 to 1986, he was Associate Deputy Minister of Justice for Canada, and he was among counsel representing Canada before the International Court of Justice against the United States in the Gulf of Maine dispute in 1984.

From 1986 to 1998, he was a senior partner at McCarthy Tétrault. He appeared as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada in many leading constitutional, civil and, occasionally, criminal cases. He also served as an advisor to the Government of Newfoundland on constitutional amendments to the Terms of Union, and as a part-time lecturer on aboriginal rights at Osgoode Hall Law School from 1975 to 1979. He was elected a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists in April 2003 and also chaired the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee from 1999 to 2004. He has authored numerous publications. In 1993, he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Justice Binnie was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Ontario) in 1979. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on January 8, 1998 and retired on October 20, 2011.


Other legal expert interviewees include:

  • The Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada)
  • The Honourable Roy McMurtry (Former Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and key participant in the drafting of The Charter)
  • R. Douglas Elliott (counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada on the Reference Re Same Sex Marriage decision)
  • Senator Jerry Grafstein (advisor to Prime Minister Trudeau when The Charter was drafted)
  • John Whyte   (Constitutional advisor in the Government of Saskatchewan during the years leading up to the patriation of the Constitution)
  • Jean Teillet (Aboriginal rights litigator)
  • André Marin (Ombudsman of Ontario)
  • Patrick Ducharme (Criminal Lawyer, Ducharme Fox LLP)
  • Jill D. Makepeace (Criminal Lawyer, Greenspan Humphrey Lavine Barristers)
  • Windsor Law Professors: W.A. Bogart, Emir Crowne, Bruce Elman, Laverne Jacobs, Jasminka Kalajdzic, Richard Moon and David Tanovich




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