Professor Stephen Waddams Receives CBA 2015 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law

  • February 20, 2015

Ottawa – University of Toronto Law Professor Stephen Waddamsis the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) 2015 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law which recognizes outstanding contribution to the law or legal scholarship in Canada.

“In the course of his over 45-year career, Professor Waddams has made profound and enduring contributions to the law and legal scholarship in Canada and beyond,” says Analea Wayne, Q.C., chair of the CBA Awards Committee. “His seven books have served as resources for Canadian courts, practitioners, law students, and academics, and have had considerable influence on the evolution of scholarship and Canadian common law.”

Professor Waddams authored three seminal legal treatises, Products Liability (1974), The Law of Contracts (1977), and The Law of Damages (1983), which remain the leading Canadian authorities on product liability, contracts, and legal remedies, respectively.

His accomplishments are further enhanced by the publication of Dimensions of Private Law: Categories and Concepts in Anglo-American Legal Reasoning and Principles and Policy in Contract Law: Competing or Complementary PerspectivesDimensions of Private Law was supported by the prestigious Killam Research Fellowship and published in 2003 by Cambridge University Press.

The impact of Professor Waddams’ work is evidenced by the fact that his numerous legal monographs and articles have been studied and cited by academics and courts internationally in approximately 1,500 legal judgments, including approximately three dozen by the Supreme Court of Canada.  His writing is described as lucid, concise, thorough, and offering brilliant insights.

Always searching for ways in which private law can be improved and advanced, Professor Waddams is considered a pioneer and an innovator. He played a central role in reforming the legal community’s vision of contract law and is still considered the pre-eminent Commonwealth scholar on damages and product liability. He has taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law since 1968 and is currently holder of the Goodman/Schipper chair.

Professor Waddams has received numerous honours and awards throughout his career, including the David W. Mundell Medal (1996), awarded annually by the Attorney-General to an Ontario writer for distinguished contributions to law and letters; the title of University Professor at the University of Toronto (2005); and the Canadian Association of Law Teachers/Law Reform Commission of Canada Award for Outstanding Contribution to Legal Research and Law Reform (1989).

The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law was established in 1993 by then Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn to recognize outstanding contributions to the law or legal scholarship in Canada. It takes the form of an engraved medallion designed by the Governor General’s Office of Heraldry.

Professor Waddams will receive the award on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Fairmont Château Laurier, during the CBA Mid-Winter Meeting of Council.

The meeting is open to accredited media. Please contact Hannah Bernstein at for accreditation.

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.