Hon. Morris J. Fish, C.C., Q.C.

From: Department of Justice Canada

Hon. Morris J. Fish, C.C., Q.C.

Backgrounder

Justice Fish served on the Quebec Court of Appeal from 1989 to 2003 and on the Supreme Court of Canada from 2003 to 2013.

He graduated with First Class Honours from McGill University’s Faculty of Law, where he was a University Scholar, was elected Permanent Class President and received the Greenshields Prize, the Crankshaw Prize for Highest Standing in Criminal Law and the Macdonald Travelling Scholarship. He pursued postgraduate studies in constitutional law and public liberties at the Universite de Paris.

Justice Fish practised law in Montreal from 1964 to 1989. He was called to the bars of Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Alberta and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984.

An adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Justice Fish lectured on criminal evidence and procedure, and advanced criminal law. He has also taught in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law and at the Universite de Montreal. Over his long career, Justice Fish contributed to many legal periodicals and spoke at numerous legal and judicial conferences in Canada and abroad. In 2007, he became the first Canadian to deliver the H.L.A. Hart Memorial Lecture at Oxford University.

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Justice Fish served as a consultant to the federal Department of Justice, to Revenue Canada and to the Law Reform Commission of Canada. He was special counsel to the Inquiry Commission into the Exercise of Trade-Union Freedom in Quebec’s Construction Industry (Cliche Commission), as well as to the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

A former board director of Montreal’s Legal Aid Bureau, Justice Fish chaired various committees of the bars of Montreal and of Quebec. He was chair of the Quebec Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, was a long-time member and former chair of McGill University’s Faculty of Law Advisory Board and is a member of the McGill principal’s International Advisory Board. In 2005, Justice Fish was appointed to serve as the “person of unquestioned integrity and independence” provided for by McGill’s Regulations Relating to the Employment of Academic Staff.

Justice Fish received honorary LLDs from McGill University in 2001 and from Yeshiva University in 2009. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In recognition of his remarkable contributions to the legal community and the cause of justice, Justice Fish has received numerous awards and medals, and was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 2017.

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Recognitions

  • American College of Trial Lawyers-Fellow
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers-Fellow
  • Companion of the Order of Canada (2017)
  • Medal of Recognition, International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law (2008)
  • G. Arthur Martin Medal (2011 ), for his contribution to criminal justice in Canada
  • Lord Reading Law Society Human Rights Award (2014), for his “outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights”
  • Medal of the Bar of Montreal (2014), for his “remarkable contribution to the cause of justice”
  • 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1992), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), for his outstanding and significant _contributions to Canada
  • Yeshiva University-Honorary LLD (2009)
  • McGill University-Honorary LLD (2001)
  • F.R. Scott Medal, Law Faculty at McGill University (2006)

Education

  • Université de Paris, (Constitutional Law and Public Liberties), 1962-1963
  • McGill University, BCL (with First Class Honours), 1962
  • McGill University, BA (with Distinction), 1959
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