University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Summer 2009

Breese Davies

"The privilege of living and working in Canada comes with the duty to protect the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable."

Fave U of T moment Early in second year, I went to a guest lecture by Madam Justice Louise Arbour – then a judge for the Ontario Court of Appeal. She spoke about the role of law in advancing human rights, and, in just two hours, changed my career path. I was mesmerized and inspired.

Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth
Breese Davies (BA 1995 Victoria, LLB 1998, MA 2006)

Since graduation I became a criminal defence lawyer and am now a partner in my own firm, Di Luca Copeland Davies LLP. I have been involved in a number of interesting cases, including the Arar Inquiry and the Toronto 18 terrorism trial. I’m also an adjunct professor in criminology at U of T. In my spare time, I run half-marathons (slowly) and ride a motorcycle (not so slowly).

A meaningful event While volunteering with Avocats Sans Frontières in Nigeria, I met a lawyer who was preparing a constitutional challenge on behalf of several young men charged with being homosexual. I read his written argument, which was impressively comprehensive. It took me a few minutes to realize that he had prepared it on a manual typewriter. He had no electricity or Internet access in his office. He made me realize how lucky I am to live and work in Canada, and that this privilege comes with the duty to use my skills to protect the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable.

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Cressy Award interviews

Your dream? To accomplish things that might inspire my students the way Louise Arbour inspired me.

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