Public Interest + Pro Bono

Osgoode Hall

Working for the public good – pro bono publico – is an important element of any law practice. I also believe that voluntarism and social or civic engagement are important domains for the development of well-rounded neighbours, citizens, and human beings. At Magrath’s, public interest work includes the following:

International Human Rights: As a director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the Chair of its sister charity, Lawyers’ Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada, I provide research and advocacy support on domestic and international issues relating to the rule of law and Canada’s obligations under International Human Right Law (IHRL). Among other work for LRWC I have attended before and made representations to the United Nations Human Rights Council (Geneva), and made oral submission on intervention before the Ontario Court of Appeal in the case of TWU vs. LSUC.

Crown Liability: Sadly, fundamental human rights are sometimes under threat here at home as well as abroad. Cases against the Crown (government or government agencies) pose very particular challenges procedurally and legally, in addition to involving the ultimate deep-pocketed defendant who is almost completely unmoved by the costs of litigation both threatened and actual. While I do not accept either Tribunal or contingency-fee cases on a regular basis, in circumstances where there is both an important issue and genuine need, I have taken on pro bono or contingency clients in respect of proceedings before the Courts or on Judicial Review.

Arts: I maintain extensive connections in Toronto’s cultural and creative industries and have acted pro bono as both counsel and a Director for several Toronto-based artists and companies.