Former chief justice of Ontario Charles Dubin died last week, leaving behind a legacy in the legal community that included serving as commissioner of an inquiry into the use of steroids in sport.
“Basically, his approach was to leave no stone unturned - to go out and get the evidence and then put it before him,” Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Robert Armstrong, a friend of the judge, told Canadian Press in reference to Dubin’s work on the 1988 inquiry that followed sprinter Ben Johnson’s positive test for anabolic steroids.
The 87-year-old former judge reportedly died of pneumonia on Oct. 27 after a week-long stay in hospital.
Dubin, who was born in Hamilton and called to the bar in 1944, returned to his law firm Torys LLP in 1996 after his stint as chief justice ended, practising arbitration and litigation.
He was first named chief justice in 1990, taking the promotion after acting as associate chief justice since 1987. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1973.
Dubin was a senior partner with Kimber Dubin Brunner & Armstrong before that, and eventually helped merge that firm with Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington. He acted as senior partner and counsel at Torys before being appointed to the bench.
In 1950, Dubin was made Queen’s Counsel, making him the youngest person in the Commonwealth at the time to receive that honour.
Other distinctions for Dubin include receiving the 1998 Canadian Bar Association Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law; being named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998; and being named an Officer of the Order of Ontario in 1997.
Aside from serving as royal commissioner to the 1988 steroid inquiry, Dubin headed the Inquiry into the Practices and Procedures of the Hospital for Sick Children in 1983, was royal commissioner to inquire into aviation safety in Canada in 1979, and served as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada from 1966 to 1973.
“He really liked people and was able to relate to people in all walks of life in a very direct and sympathetic way,” Armstrong told CP.
“Part of that was his high sense of professionalism. I mean, he was a true professional, a true gentleman, in the best sense of that word.”