Melina Buckley receives the 2011 CBA Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence

  • August 11, 2011

HALIFAX - Melina Buckley, LL.B, Ph.D., an associate with Camp Fiorante Matthews in Vancouver, is the 2011 recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence for distinguished service to the Association. 

“Throughout her career Melina Buckley has made outstanding contributions to the CBA, especially in the fields of improving the law, promoting access to justice, and advancing equality in the legal profession and the justice system,” says CBA President Rod Snow of Whitehorse.  “She brings enormous integrity, energy, and devotion to the core principles of the CBA.”

Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1990 and a member of the CBA since 1991, Ms. Buckley served as the Association’s Associate Director, Legislation and Law Reform from 1991 to 1992, and as Senior Director, Legal and Governmental Affairs from 1992 to 1994.  During her time with the CBA, she served as project director for the Bertha Wilson Task Force on Gender Equality in the Legal Profession, still considered by many to be a defining work on the subject.

Since 1994 she has dedicated countless hours to CBA projects and task forces. This includes serving as Project Director to the Systems of Civil Justice Task Force, 1994-1996; Policy Consultant for the Legal Aid Advocacy Resource Kit, 1999-2000; and Senior Project Advisor for the Jamaica Justice System Reform Initiative 2006-2007.  For the past two years in conjunction with the CBA’s International Development Committee, Ms Buckley has been advising on the ongoing constitutional reform process in Nepal with a focus on implementing the constitutional equality rights of women.

She is currently Chair of the CBA’s National Access to Justice Committee and Chair of the CBA’s Legal Aid Test Case Advisory Committee. She serves as co-counsel in this public interest litigation initiative aimed at establishing that poor and vulnerable individuals have a constitutional right to legal aid where their fundamental interests are at stake.  In 2010, she authored Moving Forward on Legal Aid:  Recent Needs Research and Innovation, published by the CBA.

“Melina has greatly influenced the course of justice and equality in this country through her work with the Canadian Bar Association,” adds Rod Snow.

Melina Buckley has intervened in several cases at the Supreme Court of Canada.  In 1992 she served as co-counsel to the CBA’s first intervention in the SCC  Symes v. Canada on the deductibility of child care expenses, and in 2006-2007 she was co-counsel to the CBA intervention in British Columbia v. Christie on the issue of the constitutionality of the provincial tax on legal services. She was also co-counsel to the CBA in the 2006 intervention in Little Sisters v. Canada on the issue of advance costs and Canadian Human Rights Commission v. Attorney General Canada in 2010 on the award of costs at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

She has been active in the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund from 1997-2004 where she served as chair, developed and organized conferences, and acted as counsel.   She also served the Court Challenges Program of Canada as a member (1996-2001) and chair of the Board of Directors (1998-2001). She has been active in the British Columbia Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Women’s Court of Canada Project.

A member of the Bar in BC, Ms. Buckley is an associate with Camp Fiorante Matthews in Vancouver, and is currently serving as Policy Counsel to the Missing Women Inquiry in British Columbia.  She received her LL.B cum laude from the University of Ottawa in 1988, her M.A. in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, and her Ph.D. in Law from the University of British Columbia in 2002.

The Louis St-Laurent Award, which takes the form of a bronze statue of the former prime minister, recognizes distinguished and exceptional service to the goals and objectives of the CBA. 

The award will be presented at the CBA Awards Lunch on Saturday, August 13, 2011, at the Marriott Halifax Harbourfront, in the ABC Halifax Room at 12:30 p.m. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the CBA 2011 Canadian Legal Conference and Expo in Halifax August 13-16.  The event is open to accredited media who have registered with the CBA Media Centre.  Please contact Hannah Bernstein for accreditation.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.