Viscount Bennett Fellowship will help 2020-21 recipient research equality and define discrimination

The Canadian Bar Association’s Fellowship Committee has selected Léa Brière-Godbout as the 2020-2021 recipient of the Viscount Bennett Fellowship to assist her in her graduate legal studies.

"I am very grateful to receive the Viscount Bennett Fellowship, which will allow me to focus full-time on writing my doctoral dissertation. I really appreciated the positive feedback and the interest that the members of the committee showed for my research and found it extremely motivating," says Brière-Godbout.

A resident of Montréal, Brière-Godbout is currently pursuing her SJD at the University of Toronto. The focus of her research is equality and the definition of discrimination. Her thesis will “paint a picture of (the) current persuasive legal potential” of arguments under Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She has a working hypothesis that despite a prevalence of 'context variant'” understanding of discrimination in Canada (where disadvantaged groups are the primary targets of discrimination), “reverse discrimination” arguments are increasing, and these trends have implications for Section 15 rights.

The CBA Fellowship Selection Committee was made up of Chair Jason Cooke, Lynne Vicars, and Marc Noreau.

The Viscount Bennett Fellowship carries a value of $25,000 and is awarded annually to a Canadian law student to encourage high standards of legal education, training and ethics. The Fellowship was established under the terms of a trust created by former Prime Minister of Canada and CBA President Viscount Richard Bedford Bennett.  The first Fellowship was awarded in 1946.

Brière-Godbout earned a LLB at Université du Québec à Montréal and a LLM at Yale University. She was called to the Quebec bar in 2014. Brière-Godbout also has a degree in social work and describes her pursuit of a legal education as a way to acquire tools to help reduce inequalities at a public policy level.

Brière-Godbout clerked for Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner in 2018-2019.