Douglas Elliott, minority rights advocate and activist, receives LLD from Law Society

Law Society dubs lawyer a ‘leading expert in public law, class actions and Charter litigation’

Douglas Elliott, minority rights advocate and activist, receives LLD from Law Society
R. Douglas Elliott, partner at Cambridge LLP | Image credit: Cambridge LLP’s website

The Law Society of Ontario has conferred a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) to R. Douglas Elliott for his advocacy in landmark cases involving the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially regarding minority rights such as same sex marriage.

The Law Society, which certified Elliott as a specialist in civil litigation in 2003 and awarded him the Law Society Medal in 2010, annually presents honorary doctorates to those with outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice, said a news release.

Elliott received the LLD during the June 23 Convocation meeting in recognition for his work as counsel in important class action cases resulting in some of the biggest recoveries against the Crown in Canada. These included Hislop v. Canada, an action in which a group of gay and lesbian Canadians sued the federal government to ask for Canada Pension Plan survivor’s pensions and which resulted in the largest – at the time – Canadian class action trial judgement. Elliott was also counsel on Parsons v. Canada, wherein he helped the national hepatitis C team obtain $1.5 billion, one of the largest settlements in Canadian class action history, from the federal and provincial governments.

“His dedication and passion have delivered access to justice for many Canadians,” said Teresa Donnelly, the law society’s treasurer, in the Gazette. “His advocacy does not stop at legal work – he is a dedicated and engaged community activist.”

As a partner at Cambridge LLP, Elliott’s practice areas include complex business litigation, cross-border litigation, alternative dispute resolution, estates and trusts law, human rights, health law and injunctions.

Elliott has served as chairperson of the Just Society Committee at Egale Canada Human Rights Trust; as vice-chairperson (policy) of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Networks; as vice-president of the Northern Ontario Pride Network and of Elliot Lake Pride; and as director of LGBT Purge Fund, of the board of trustees of Holy Trinity United Church and of H & M COFI, a community-based Northern Ontario internet initiative.

He has been a member of the Honorary Advisory Board at Egale Human Rights Trust, of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, of the American Bar Association, of the Canadian Bar Association, of the Ontario Bar Association, of the Toronto Lawyers Association and of the Algoma District Law Association.

Elliott earned his LLB from the University of Toronto in 1982 and his admission to the bar in 1984. He has won many awards for his social justice efforts.

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