U of T’s Faculty of Law will name a classroom in a planned new facility after one of its most famous alumni, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella (BA 1967, LLB 1970).
Friends and colleagues of Justice Abella donated $1 million toward the creation of a new moot courtroom in recognition of Abella’s contributions to the administration of justice in Canada, her commitment to social advocacy and her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2004. “It’s fitting that one of the most important classrooms at the law school, where students learn the art of advocacy in a courtroom setting, will be named in Rosie’s honour,” says Ron Daniels, the former dean of the law school.
Justice Abella was born in 1946 in a displaced persons camp in Germany; her parents had survived the Nazi concentration camps. When her family immigrated to Canada in 1950, her father was not permitted to practice law because he was Jewish. Abella took up her father’s interest in the subject, graduating from U of T’s law school in 1970. Her sons Jacob (LLB 1998) and Zachary are also law graduates. Abella became Canada’s first female Jewish judge in 1976 and has long fought inequality in the justice system. “Rosie’s unwavering commitment to social justice and human rights places her among the most important graduates our law school has ever produced,” said Daniels on the occasion of her Supreme Court appointment. “She embodies our highest ideals and aspirations.”
The Rosalie Silberman Abella Moot Courtroom is supported with lead gifts from Charles and Andrea Bronfman, Stephen and Claudine Bronfman, Andrew Hauptman and Ellen Bronfman Hauptman, Ralph Halbert, Hal Jackman, Jonas Prince, Joseph Rotman, Lionel and Carol Schipper, Gerald Schwartz, Edward Sonshine and the late Milton Harris. Other supporters include Avie Bennett, Ephraim Diamond, Martin Goldberg, Martin Goldfarb, Leo Kolber, Larry Tanenbaum and Gluskin Sheff & Associates.