Fish announces retirement from Supreme CourtWritten by Gail J. Cohen Monday, 22 April 2013
|Justice Morris Fish will officially leave the Supreme Court on Aug. 31.|
“Justice Fish has served on the court with wisdom, and made enormous contributions to the court and to Canada,” McLachlin said in a statement this afternoon. “He is a wonderful colleague and friend who will be greatly missed.”
For his part, Fish said, “By the date of my planned retirement, I will have served my country as a justice of its highest courts for nearly a quarter century — including more than 10 years on the Supreme Court of Canada. I am grateful to have enjoyed this privilege and mindful of the honour and public trust that attach to the holding of judicial office in Canada.”
Ottawa lawyer and long-time Supreme Court agent Eugene Meehan commented on Fish's announcement: “In Canada’s national court he always stuck his juridical neck out for the little guy – Canada’s best defence judge has now ‘gone fishing.'"
Fish reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 this fall, and the other Quebec SCC judge, Louis LeBel, has to retire next year. The Supreme Court Act required that three of the nine judges on the court come from Quebec.
Fish was appointed to the Supreme Court bench on Aug. 5, 2003, after serving over 14 years as a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal and a distinguished career as an educator and criminal lawyer in Montreal. He was the first Quebec Anglophone appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada since Douglass Abbott in the 1950s and was the first Jewish Supreme since former chief justice Bora Laskin. He succeeded retired SCC justice Charles Gonthier.
Upon his appointment to the top court in 2003, then chief justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal Michel Robert noted to Law Times: “[Fish] has a passion for defending the rights of the accused, though he’s not always in favour of the accused’s rights. I think he’s got some equilibrium and balance.”
Update: 5:01 pm. Comments from Meehan.
One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, editor in chief Gail J. Cohen oversees content for all the publications in the group, including Canadian Lawyer, InHouse, 4Students and Law Times, and their associated websites and digital initiatives.
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