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Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

(amended 05 June 2020)

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes outstanding achievement by distinguished members of the profession or of the judiciary by the awarding of the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has the power to grant honorary degrees by virtue of section 18(2)(j) of the Law Society Act, 1999. Degrees may be granted in recognition of exemplary achievements in service and benefits to the legal profession, the rule of law and the administration of justice.

Criteria and Guidelines

1. Distinction

The recipient has distinguished themselves by having made, directly or indirectly, an outstanding contribution to the legal profession or to the administration of justice.

2. Integrity

The recipient is of unimpeachable good character with a reputation for high professional integrity and honesty.

3. Professional Achievements

The recipient is known for outstanding accomplishments in their professional career.

4. Service

The recipient has made significant volunteer contributions of time and energy to the advancement of the legal profession or the administration of justice, either personally or through a recognized society or organization.

5. Reform

The recipient has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of the law or to the improvement of the justice system.

This award ought to be conferred, save unusual exceptions, to retired members of a Law Society in Canada or elsewhere as deemed appropriate, or to retired members of the judiciary, for contributions made by persons of the caliber outlined in the criteria set forth above. The selection process should be rigorous and of the highest standard. The criteria and guidelines ought to be applied flexibly, yet reflect the fact that this is the highest award which the Law Society can confer. This award ought to be conferred infrequently.

Procedures for the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

1. The Award of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa is to be conferred by Benchers in Convocation on the recommendation of the Honours and Awards Committee or any other Committee determined by Benchers.

2. Nominees should not be informed they are under consideration.

3. Neither the fact of, nor the outcome of any individual nomination, apart from the public announcement by the Law Society of a successful nomination, shall be released by the Committee.

4. The President of the Law Society shall communicate in writing with the person(s) approved by Benchers to be the recipient(s) of the honorary degree.

5. The Law Society should make the announcement of the awarding of the honorary degree to relevant parties and to members of the profession and of the judiciary. The announcement should be posted on the Law Society’s website and in any newsletters published by the Law Society.

6. A proposal to confer a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa degree may be submitted at any time to the Executive Director of the Law Society.

7. The Executive Director shall refer any proposals to the Chair of the Honours and Awards Committee or any other Committee determined by Benchers.

8. The proposal is to be submitted in writing. It must provide comprehensive and substantive submissions as to how the individual meets the criteria identified and must include reasons why the individual should be honoured by the Law Society. A proposal must include a concise biography and background information on the nominee’s outstanding service and achievements as they relate to the Award.

9. The Executive Director shall keep a file of names submitted for the award and shall carry forward all submissions until closed by the awarding of the degree, death, or the expiry of a period of three years.

10. Persons removed from the list after three years may be re-nominated.

11. The Honours and Awards Committee or other Committee shall furnish the Executive Director with a report which shall contain a concise summary for each name recommended by the Committee for the award of an honorary degree, giving reasons for the recommendations and any other relevant facts.

12. Normally, serving members of Benchers, serving Law Society staff, serving politicians and active members of the judiciary are not eligible.

13. Normally, the degree should not be conferred posthumously.

Gordon M Stirling Distinguished Service Award

Open to members and former members of the Law Society and of the judiciary who have made a substantial contribution to the Law Society, the legal profession, or the administration of justice, while at the same time making a significant contribution to the public or one’s community.

The award should take the form of a certificate.

Jean Bruneau, OC, Certificate of Merit

Open to lay persons whom have made a substantial contribution to the Law Society through years of service on Benchers or in some other capacity, or to the legal profession or the administration of justice.

The award should take the form of a certificate. This award should be granted sparingly and must not be compulsory on an annual basis.

Concerning lay Benchers specifically, they should not be considered automatically eligible for such recognition if it is to hold value. Excepting outstanding contributions during a brief term on Benchers, a lay person should have served the equivalent of two terms of four years each and, as well, have been active outside Benchers in the work of the Law Society as, for example, by sitting on the CAC or some other Committee requiring significant contributions of time and effort.

The Kenneth W. Jerrett Award

The Kenneth W. Jerrett Award recognizes members of the profession whose tenacity and character are an inspiration to others. The award is granted to lawyers who make exceptional contributions to the profession and who demonstrate commitment to community service within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Recipients must have excelled in three areas:

  1. ) the practice of law;
  2. ) service to the legal profession; and
  3. ) service to the community at large.

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must:

  • be a member in good standing;
  • currently practice law within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • have shown excellence in their work;
  • have shown a commitment to professional and ethical standards;
  • have demonstrated the motivation to persevere in order to excel in the legal profession;
  • have faced significant challenges and succeeded;
  • have made significant contributions to the profession; and
  • have demonstrated a commitment to making important contributions to the community in which they live.

To nominate an individual, please submit the following:

A nomination letter discussing how the nominee meets the above criteria for The Kenneth W. Jerrett Award. Please include the following:

  1. a statement of the nominee’s achievements;
  2. any offices or leadership positions the nominee has held within the profession;
  3. any other contributions in the area of service to the profession; and
  4. the nominee’s involvement in their community, including volunteer activities and contributions to civic organizations.

The award is discretionary and must not be compulsory on an annual basis. The award will take the form of a certificate and will be presented at the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual dinner and dance.

Life Membership

Available as an award to members under Rule 2.18, “upon such terms and subject to such conditions as Benchers may prescribe.”