Retired justice aims to equip students with knowledge to deal with complex constitutional cases
The new Honourable Mark G. Peacock Scholarship in Constitutional Law, established by the retired justice of the Quebec Superior Court of the same name, will reward excellence in Charter studies at Queen’s University Faculty of Law.
Peacock, who endowed the scholarship alongside his wife Dru Spencer, has stressed the importance of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which he called a “legal document that is at the core of Canada’s meaning more than any other” in the news release dated Mar. 5. Peacock said that the Charter is a living and breathing document that affects all Canadians and that summarizes what Canada is about with its provisions on equality, minority rights and linguistic rights. Peacock praised the Charter’s language for being simple, comprehensible to the average Canadian and specific as it sets out the constitutional rights of each Canadian.
The scholarship seeks to inspire students to graduate with an interest in the Charter and to assist them in the future as they deal with the ever more complex array of Charter cases that Peacock has encountered during his time as a judge. Peacock, who was a member of the Dean’s Council at Queen’s Law, also aims to give back to his alma mater.
Queen’s Law obligates all first-year students to take a constitutional law course and offers advanced upper-year electives on Charter law studies.
“Queen’s Law has always had great strength in the study of public law, and the faculty currently includes two of this country’s leading Charter scholars: Dean Mark Walters and Professor Grégoire Webber,” said Peacock in the news release.
Peacock graduated from Queen’s Law in 1974. He holds an LLM from the London School of Economics and a civil law degree from Laval University. He received his appointment as a judge of the Quebec Superior Court in 2007, the first Queen’s Law graduate to do so. He has served as a private practitioner in Montreal and Ottawa for 25 years, has taught at the University of Ottawa’s law school and has sat on the language rights committee of the Court Challenges Program of Canada.
At the Canadian Bar Association, Peacock has served as former president of the Quebec branch, as chairperson of the national civil litigation section and as a member of the task force on court reform. He received the association’s Louis St. Laurent Award of Excellence in 2002 and the Justice Thomas Cromwell Distinguished Public Service Award in 2017.