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Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture - Highlights

Sun, 30 Jul 2017

Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture - Highlights

The second bi-annual Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture was held on Friday June 23rd 2017. Hosted by the CISDL, the evening was held by at McGill University’s Faculty Club and was preceded by a symposium on the interfaces of sustainable development and international law. The evening also marked the book launch of “Sustainable Development Principles in the Decisions of International Courts and Tribunals” edited by Prof Marie-Claire Coordonier Segger and the late Judge C.G. Weeramantry. The lecture considered “Justice and a Common Future in a Divided World” and focused on “How can rule of law, access to justice and good governance contribute to sustainable development in Canada and our world, in the face of rising Intolerance and populism.”

The event was attended by lawyers, judges and students from Montreal and beyond. Over 160 people were present for this world-class lecture on sustainable development and access to justice. It was an honor to have both Director General Irene Khan from the IDLO and Honourable Justice Guy Canivet as keynote speakers.

Irene Khan spoke about the need for access to justice in all communities and the challenges that accompany such a task. Her speech was grounded in international efforts and seeded with personal, human anecdotes that resonated with the audience and was especially appreciated by the students present. Judge Canivet presented a picture of the role of superior courts in world governance. He reflected on the potential power of these judicial bodies as well as the challenges they face. The audience was reminded of the need for cooperation to both generate and follow international guidelines. The values of fraternity and harmony, so central to the late Judge Gonthier, were presented as possible tools for sustainable development.

The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler, Chief Justice, Court of Appeal of Quebec, opened the Lecture with a heartfelt address on justice and the late Judge Gonthier’s contribution to the Canadian charter. These remarks were an excellent counter part to the reflections on justice and our common future in Canada provided in closing by David Lametti, Member of Parliament. We would also like to thank the Honourable Malcolm Rowe, Justice, Supreme Court of Canada for providing an opening to the charity Banquet held in conjunction to the lecture and remembering Judge Gonthier.

Finally, it is important to highlight the Gonthier Memorial Lecture 2017 partners and sponsors. The event would not have been possible without their contribution. We hope to have their continued support in the future and see you all again in 2019.

We extend our very deepest gratitude to platinum sponsor law firms Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Lamarre, Linteau & Montcalm; gold sponsor law firms Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and Stikeman Elliot LLP; and silver sponsor firms McCarthy Tétrault LLP and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; as well as platinum sponsor institute the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); gold sponsor institutions the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ), the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL); and silver sponsor institutions the International Law Association (ILA) of Canada and the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law; as well as the Société québécoise de droit international (SQDI); the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Branch; ProBono Quebec; the McGill Law Journal; the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Philippe Kirsch Institute together with many other collaborators, for their kind contributions to this special event. 


Call for Papers: Workshop on Gender on the International Bench

Wed, 7 Jun 2017

The PluriCourts Centre of Excellence at Oslo University is organizing a workshop series on “Identity on the International Bench”.

On 11 and 12 January 2018, the first workshop will focus on Gender on the International Bench will take place in The Hague.

Currently women judges make up on average 17% of international courts and tribunals, demonstrating significant disparity regarding the participation of women on the bench across different international legal regimes. Such lack of representativeness can affect the legitimacy of the international dispute settlement process and its outcomes.

The aim of this workshop is to analyse causes and effects of the dearth of women judges, and the resulting implications for the legitimacy of international adjudicatory institutions and the judicial decisions rendered. This will for example include an examination of international rules and practices concerning appointment and composition of the bench; judicial behaviour linked to the absence or presence of female judges; and potential effects on compliance with judicial awards.

Please find the Call for Papers at http://www.jus.uio.no/pluricourts/english/news-and-events/events/2018/2018-01-11-gender-on-the-bench.html

Proposals should be submitted via freya.baetens@jus.uio.no and c.m.bailliet@jus.uio.no by 31 July 2017.


In Memory of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD (13 July 1928 - 8 February 2017)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017

In Memory of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD (13 July 1928 - 8 February 2017) 

On 8 February 2017 the international legal community lost another distinguished member, Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD .

 A longstanding inspiration, senior advisor, and mentor of the CISDL, Prof Lauterpacht will be deeply missed. The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, a model upon which the CISDL was formed, was founded by Prof Lauterpacht in 1983 and directed under his leadership in various roles for many years. 

The CISDL is participating in initiatives to honour his life and legacy. Prof Lauterpacht will be sorely missed worldwide. 


Special Invitation to the 2017 Gonthier Memorial Lecture - June 23, 2017

Mon, 30 Jan 2017


The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in collaboration with the Charles D. Gonthier Legacy Committee extends an invitation to the Gonthier Memorial Lecture which will take place at the McGill University Faculty Club in Montreal on Friday, June 23, 2017. Registration Link.

The Gonthier Lecture Series was initiated in light of the significant impact that Supreme Court Justice Charles D. Gonthier had upon several generations of Canadian and international jurists in promoting a responsible, just and equal society. He was also a founding member of the CISDL Board of Governors.

Ms. Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and Hon Justice Guy Canivet, Vice-Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, former member of the French Constitutional Court and President of the Cour de Cassation of France.

23 June 2017 / Montreal, Canada

The event will be preceded, from 5h00PM to 6h00PM, by a Welcome Reception by Law faculties and Law Firms. Attendance at the Welcome Reception is free of charge upon registration. The Memorial Lecture will begin at 6h30PM.

The Memorial Lecture will be immediately followed by a Banquet Dinner at the McGill Faculty Club. Proceeds from the dinner will be used to fund the Memorial Lecture. Charitable tax receipts will be provided for Banquet Dinner registrants.

Participants are also invited to make a donation to the Gonthier Memorial Lecture. Charitable tax receipts will be provided to all donors.

Please reserve now for the Reception and Lecture.

Please also purchase your tickets for the Banquet Dinner now, before places become scarce.

Reservations can be made through the Eventbrite page.

As those who had the privilege to know him are aware, judicial integrity, responsibility and fraternity were important values to Honourable Judge Charles D Gonthier. The legacy of values he embraced is kept alive through the Gonthier Endowment Fund established in his name, to support a new series of biennial Lectures. A world-class high caliber program equal to the man’s stature was envisioned, and we are pleased to unveil it with this invitation. If your institution or firm is interested in becoming a partner, you are very welcome. Contact the Gonthier Legacy Committee, directed to Mr. Freedom-Kai Phillips, International Secretariat Manager, CISDL (fkphillips@cisdl.org) Christine Robertson, Gonthier Legacy Committee (Robertson.Christine@gmail.com), cc’ing Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Senior Director, CISDL (mccs2@cam.ac.uk), for details.



McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law - 4th annual colloquium - January 20th 2017

Sat, 14 Jan 2017

The McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law is holding its 4th annual colloquium, “The World After the Paris Agreement”, on January 20th. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the event runs until 4:30 p.m. at the Thomson House Ballroom, McGill University (3650 rue McTavish, Montréal). Lunch will be provided. Admission to the event is free, but registration via Eventbrite is appreciated.

Le 4 novembre 2016 a marqué l’entrée en vigueur de l’Accord de Paris. Ayant fait l'objet d'un plus grand nombre de ratifications dans un an que l’accord Kyoto en une décennie, l’Accord de Paris a donné à la lutte contre le changement climatique un essor encore jamais vu. L’optimisme ressenti est presque tangible. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “a momentous occasion,” reflecting “the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge.” 

Pourtant, les défis demeurent nombreux en ce qui concerne la mise en œuvre de l'Accord. La question suivante demeure : « que nous réserve l’avenir? ». Drawing on insights from their own work, our panelists will engage with this question in an interdisciplinary conversation about what the Paris Agreement means for the future of climate change policy in Canada and abroad. Find out more information on our panelists on our event Facebook page.

Please note that this event is accredited by a recognized provider for 5 hours of continuing legal education/ Formation d’un dispensateur reconnu aux fins de la formation continue obligatoire pour une durée de 5 heures.

Message from CISDL Senior Director on the passing of HE Judge CG Weeramantry

Fri, 6 Jan 2017

Message from CISDL Senior Director on the passing of HE Judge CG Weeramantry

Dear friends and colleagues

Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry was an extraordinary and international inspiring jurist, an insightful scholar, a talented educator, a kind and gracious gentleman, and a deeply beloved mentor and friend.

He passed away this week, surrounded by family and friends.

His creativity, engagement and deep sense of responsibility, ethics and history were well known and deeply appreciated in our field.

His vision, insight, and dedication has made a lasting impression on international law, inspiring many young scholars and jurists to work towards peace, justice, and sustainable development. Across the world, and across generations, his works will be remembered and cherished. The Judge truly made a difference to our world, advancing peace, education, and research, and reminding us of the spirit of the law, with our responsibilities towards the most vulnerable peoples and our Earth.

Judge Weeramantry will be deeply missed and honoured by many.

It is very hard to imagine him gone.

We are sending all our deepest condolences to his family, along with all our respect for a life very, very well-lived. We deeply appreciate that it was possible to contribute to a special manuscript for him, together with many others, and to learn that the messages sent brought joy to the Judge and his family over the final months of his life.

Among his commitments, the Judge was a founding Chair of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL, and then for 16 years, Patron of the Centre, which is based at McGill University in Canada, which, with affiliates in the Universities of Cambridge, Nairobi and Chile, works to advance sustainable development through legal scholarship and empowerment. Additionally, the Judge was a Founding Councillor for the World Future Council.  Just a few weeks ago, the Judge’s final corrections and approvals arrived for Sustainable Development in International Courts and Tribunals, which he was editing with us for Routledge. This volume will provide a testament to his legacy as a jurist and humanitarian, with a special dedication to honour his memory.

In the next months, we shall consult with the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education Research, McGill, Cambridge, Monash, his colleagues from the Courts and his other institutions, also his family and friends, in order to establish a memorial to honour his legacy.

Very kind regards,


Prof Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, DPhil (Oxon) MEM (Yale) BCL & LLB (McGill) BA Hons

Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL)



© 2017 Centre for International Sustainable Development Law