Chief Justice Winkler to Receive Honourary Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School; Plans Underway for New Dispute Resolution Institute and Chair to Honour Legacy of Ontario Chief Justice

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Chief Justice Winkler to Receive Honourary Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School; Plans Underway for New Dispute Resolution Institute and Chair to Honour Legacy of Ontario Chief Justice

TORONTO, June 4, 2012 – Ontario Chief Justice Warren K. Winkler, who has received numerous awards and honours during his distinguished years of service to the legal profession, the judiciary and the community, will be presented with the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) at Osgoode's Spring Convocation on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 3.30 p.m. in the Convocation Pavilion of the Rexall Centre on York's Keele campus.

Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, also announced that planning is underway to create the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Winkler Chair in Dispute Resolution to be housed at Osgoode. The Chair will lead the Institute, which will be devoted to research and initiatives in support of innovative dispute resolution. The Institute also will house a small and prestigious group of “Winkler Fellows” to give public lectures, collaborate on research projects, and develop pilot projects in fields related to dispute resolution.

To be named in honour of Ontario Chief Justice Warren K. Winkler (LLB ’62, LLM ’64), the Winkler initiative at Osgoode will recognize and celebrate his commitment to innovation in dispute resolution as Chief Justice. Winkler has devoted his 50-year career as a labour lawyer and then a jurist to the improvement of both traditional and alternative methods of dispute resolution.

“Chief Justice Winkler has made tremendous contributions to the development of dispute resolution in Ontario,” Sossin said. “Given Osgoode’s rich tradition of leadership in the field, it is fitting that a leading global institute on dispute resolution should be launched here, and we are honoured that the Chief Justice has agreed to be its namesake.”

Sossin said that a volunteer committee, comprised of admirers of the Chief Justice’s work and chaired by Neil Finkelstein of McCarthy Tétrault, has begun fundraising for the Winkler Chair and Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, which should allow the initiative to be launched to coincide with the start of Winkler’s retirement.

Sossin referred to Winkler as “a nationally recognized legal scholar and author, an expert in labour law and class action law as well as a distinguished jurist who is renowned for his judicial mediation skills and alternative dispute methods.”

He noted that Winkler has judicially mediated many large national and international disputes including the Air Canada Restructuring, and the Walkerton Tainted Water Class Action, and was instrumental in the settlement of some of the seemingly most intractable major lawsuits in Canada.

“In his speeches and writings, Chief Justice Winkler has emphasized the potential of a progressive dispute resolution system to attract economic development and investment and enhance access to justice,” Sossin said.

Winkler, who is also marking the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Osgoode, was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1965 and was created a Queen’s Counsel in 1977. He was a partner in the law firm of Winkler, Filion & Wakely and practised labour law on behalf of management. He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1993 then was appointed Regional Senior Judge for Toronto Region in March 2004, and Chief Justice of Ontario in June 2007.

York University is a leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto – Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 55,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 250,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.


Media Contact: Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca