Guthrie Award recipients

2018 recipient: Mary Birdsell

Mary Birdsell and Linda Rothstein

Mary Birdsell and Linda Rothstein

The 2018 Guthrie Award recipient was Mary Birdsell. Ms Birdsell is Executive Director of Justice for Children and Youth, a legal aid clinic dedicated to protecting and advancing the legal rights and dignity of children and youth. She has devoted her career to providing legal services, justice advocacy, community development, and research and education on behalf of the most vulnerable children and youth and has appeared at all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

“Mary epitomizes the passionate and dynamic leader of a specialty legal clinic,” said Linda Rothstein, the Foundation’s Board Chair. “She has taken the mandate of justice for children and youth and fashioned services that respond directly to needs identified by youth and delivers them in the ways and places that are most appropriate, whether that’s a direct phone line, at youth groups, or literally on the streets.”

2017 recipient: Reem Bahdi

Reem Bahdi and Linda Rothstein

Reem Bahdi and Linda Rothstein

The 2017 Guthrie Award recipient was Professor Reem Bahdi. Professor Bahdi is an author, researcher, and human rights expert, with particular expertise in the human rights of Arabs and Muslims in Canada. She was the Canadian Bar Association’s first Equality Advisor and was instrumental in the creation of the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association.

“Professor Bahdi has seized the opportunity to work on complex and cutting edge access to justice issues,” says Linda Rothstein, the Foundation’s Board Chair. “She has dedicated her life to changing hearts, minds, and systems to champion human rights. And, remarkably, it seems she is just getting started.”

2015 recipient: Julie Mathews

Julie Mathews and Paul Schabas

The 2015 Guthrie Award was presented to Julie Mathews. Highly respected in the non-profit and justice sectors, Ms. Mathews has been instrumental in the creation of several innovative projects. Her ability to see the big picture has translated into services that benefit people from across the sector: individuals seeking help, community organizations and public legal education and legal professionals.

“We’ve seen Julie’s leadership and passion first-hand,” said Paul Schabas, Chair of The Law Foundation of Ontario. “Julie exemplifies what the Guthrie Award is all about. She’s definitely made a far-reaching impact on access to justice personally, and has led a strong team to deliver high quality legal information throughout Ontario.” Read the full news release

2014 recipient: Kimberly Murray

Kimberly Murray and Mark J. Sandler

Kimberly Murray and Mark J. Sandler

The 2014 Guthrie Award was presented to Kimberly Murray. During two decades of outstanding public service as a lawyer, educator, and community leader, Ms. Murray has consistently demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving access to justice for Aboriginal Peoples.

“Kimberly Murray is an exceptional community leader and advocate for Aboriginal access to justice, with a two-decade history of dedication to this cause. It will be an honour to present her with the 2014 Guthrie Award,” says Mark J. Sandler, Chair of the Law Foundation of Ontario. Read the full news release

2013 recipient: Justice Stephen Goudge

Justice Stephen Goudge and Mark J. Sandler

Justice Stephen Goudge and Mark J. Sandler

The 2013 Guthrie Award was be presented to Justice Stephen Goudge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Justice Goudge is one of Canada’s most respected appellate judges. He is also an inspirational champion of access to justice through his activities outside the courtroom, the reason for his selection as the 2013 Guthrie Award recipient. Read the full news release

Read about this award in the Law Society Gazette

Read about this award in the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Newsletter

2011 recipient: Judith McCormack Judith McCormack

The 2011 Guthrie Award was be presented to Judith McCormack of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. “Judith’s distinguished career has been consistently guided by a strong commitment to accessible justice,” says LFO Board Chair Mark Sandler. “She has had an enormous impact because of her influence on law students entering the profession, and because of her success in achieving systemic change in law schools, legal clinics and the tribunal sector, all of which in turn benefits the public of Ontario.”

Read the full news release

2009 recipient: Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is renowned for its commitment and efficacy in addressing both the immediate consequences and underlying causes of violence against women.

2008 recipient: A. Alan Borovoy, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Guth Poster.08:Layout 1

Through Alan Borovoy’s forty years of inspired leadership, the CCLA has become this country’s foremost advocate for freedom of speech and expression. As General Counsel of the CCLA, he devoted extraordinary amounts of time and energy to be an advocate for the rights and freedoms of people who might otherwise be denied them.

2006 recipient: Martin Teplitsky, Q.C., L.S.M., Teplitsky, Colson

An innovative supporter of community justice and numerous charitable causes, Martin Teplitsky founded the Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program and was instrumental in launching the Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS), the country’s first law-and-justice themed high school program.

2005 recipient: The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry


As a volunteer, lawyer, judge, former Attorney General of Ontario and Chief Justice of Ontario, Roy McMurtry is a man of countless accomplishments. He is an unwavering supporter of Pro Bono Law Ontario and is one of the founders of the Ontario Justice Education Network. He was instrumental in the negotiations leading to the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and continues to champion access to justice for all Canadians.

2001 recipient: Jim Baillie, Counsel, Torys

One of the country’s foremost corporate lawyers, James Baillie has made an outstanding contribution to the administration of justice and legal education in the corporate and securities law areas. His longstanding service to many government, institutional and educational bodies has made an enduring benefit to the profession and wider community.

1999 recipient: Balfour Halévy, Law Librarian Emeritus and Professor Emeritus

(Osgoode Hall Law School of York University)
Balfour Halevy, professor emeritus and retired law librarian at York University, has significantly influenced North American and particularly Canadian law librarianship. Under his leadership, Osgoode’s law library was the first to develop the academic law library Acquisitions Program, which later became the Virtual Academic Law Library Project.

1998 recipient: Parkdale Community Legal Services

The PCLS was selected in recognition of the organization’s valuable contribution to law students in the provision of hands-on experience and the clinic’s focus on the study of poverty law and reflection on the broader themes of the administration of justice and law reform.

1997 recipient: Peter N. Oliver, Editor−in−Chief of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

From 1979−1998, Peter Oliver served as the editor-in-chief of The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, publishing 35 volumes. As Editor, he spearheaded many innovative and interesting projects. Also a professor of Canadian history at York University, Prof. Oliver specialized in the political, social and legal history of Ontario in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as correctional history and penology. He was the author of five books, including Terror to Evil-Doers: Prisons and Punishment in Nineteenth Century Ontario (1998).