After much speculation as to where he would land, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie will be joining Toronto litigation boutique of Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP as counsel. Binnie will provide strategic and practical advice, as well as dispute resolution expertise, to his colleagues and the firm’s clients.
“Lenczner Slaght has great people and great work,” said Binnie, “and for me there is the added bonus of being able to practise again with many of the same talented people I worked with before going on the bench.”
Binnie, who in 1998 was appointed to the SCC bench directly from the bar, was a top commercial litigator before joining the court.
“Ian Binnie was widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading litigators while in practice and after that one of our finest judges,” said Peter Griffin, managing partner of Lenczner Slaght. “We are delighted to have him join us. We, and our clients, look forward to benefiting from his unique expertise.”
In nearly 14 years on the bench, Binnie authored 170 opinions, many in significant cases involving intellectual property, defamation, and constitutional and administrative law. His landmark judgments enlarged the fair comment defence in defamation cases, established privilege for journalists’ confidential sources and led to a framework for the courts to use in analyzing when to override liability-limitation clauses in contracts.
Binnie practised for three decades in courtrooms across the country and in the mid-1980s, served for four years as Canada’s Associate Deputy Minister of Justice. He was later appointed special parliamentary counsel to the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on the Meech Lake Accord. He has an LLB and LLM from the University of Cambridge and an LLB from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He was called to the bar of England in 1966, the Ontario bar in 1967, and the Yukon Bar in 1985.
In addition to acting as counsel at Lenczner Slaght, Mr. Binnie will be a resident arbitrator at newly formed Arbitration Place in Toronto.