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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

(amended 10 June 2022)

The Gordon M Stirling Distinguished Service Award recognizes members and former members of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and of the judiciary who have had a lengthy and distinguished history of achievement of professional excellence.

Criteria and Guidelines

Recipients must also have made a substantial contribution in two areas:

a. service to the legal profession or to the administration of justice in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and
b. service to the community.

To be eligible for the award, members and former members must:

a. have practiced law in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for not less than twenty (20) years or have experience of not less than twenty (20) years in a combination of practice in the profession and service in the judiciary in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
b. be or have been a member in good standing with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador; and
c. have promoted and practiced with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism and not be subject to any of the following with respect to conduct that would be deemed by Benchers to be inconsistent with the honour of this award:

i.  )  an ongoing allegation or complaint;
ii. )  ongoing civil litigation against them;
iii.)  a current outstanding civil judgement or criminal charge against them.
iv.)  have pleaded guilty before an adjudication tribunal to conduct deserving of sanction;
v.  ) have been found guilty by an adjudication tribunal of conduct deserving of sanction; and
vi. ) have been found guilty of a criminal offence or another offence involving breach of trust or dishonesty.

Service to the legal profession or to the administration of justice may include:

i.  )  outstanding service through ongoing devotion to professional duties;
ii. )  a single distinguished professional or academic accomplishment that accords with the highest ideals of the legal community;
iii.)  excellence in the law through professional achievement and leadership in an area of practice; or
iv. )  volunteer work with the Law Society; the justice system; and/or associations or organizations whose focus is an area of law or the legal profession.

Service to the community may include:

i. active and sustained participation in civic organizations; and
ii. a commitment to making meaningful and significant efforts that have resulted in the enhancement and improvement of a civic organization and/or the community.

To nominate an individual, please submit the following:

A nomination letter discussing how the nominee meets the above criteria for the Gordon M Stirling Distinguished Service Award.  Please include the following:

a. the nominee’s professional curriculum vitae including years of practice and areas of practice;
b. the nominee’s outstanding professional qualities and exemplary professional achievements;
c. how the nominee has upheld the highest ethical and professional standards during their career;
d. how the nominee’s devotion to professional duties and adherence to best practices over a long term have benefitted the clients they served and thereby promoted the rule of law and advanced the legal profession;
e. the nominee’s contributions in the area of service to the profession including offices or leadership positions the nominee has held within the profession; and
f. how the nominee’s involvement in their community, including volunteer activities and contributions to civic organizations, has made an impact.

Nominees must complete a Consent and Eligibility Form confirming their agreement to the nomination and also confirming whether, in any province or territory of Canada,  they are the subject of an ongoing allegation or complaint; whether they have pleaded guilty before an adjudication tribunal to conduct deserving of sanction or were found guilty by an adjudication tribunal of conduct deserving of sanction; and/or whether they were found guilty of, or are subject to, previous or ongoing litigation matters.

The award is discretionary and is not 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 or on some other appropriate occasion.

Jean Bruneau, OC, Certificate of Merit

(amended 10 June 2022)

The Jean Bruneau, OC, Certificate of Merit recognizes lay persons who have made a substantial contribution to the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador through years of service as a lay Bencher or in some other capacity or to the legal system or to the administration of justice.

Criteria and Guidelines

To be eligible for the award, lay benchers, specifically, must:

a. have served a minimum of two (2) terms of four (4) years each;
b. in addition to participating in meetings of Benchers in convocation, have been active in Benchers’ committees requiring significant contributions of time and effort; and
c. have demonstrated a commitment to the Law Society’s work in protecting the public interest by actively representing the public at Benchers’ convocations and in committees.

To be eligible for the award, lay persons, specifically, must have made outstanding contributions such as:

a. assisting fellow members of the public who must access the justice system;
b. serving institutions of the legal and justice systems;
c. contributing to legal scholarship or preservation of legal history; or
d. some other qualification that, in the view of Benchers, constitutes a significant contribution to the legal system or to the administration of justice.

In addition, the lay person must have carried on their career with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism and not be subject to any of the following with respect to conduct that would be deemed by Benchers to be inconsistent with the honour of this award:

i.  )  an ongoing allegation or complaint;
ii. )  ongoing civil litigation against them;
iii.)  a current outstanding civil judgement or criminal charge against them;
iv.)  have pleaded guilty before an adjudication tribunal to conduct deserving of sanction;
v. )  have been found guilty by an adjudication tribunal of conduct deserving of sanction; and
vi.)  have been found guilty of a criminal offence or another offence involving breach of trust or dishonesty.

To nominate an individual, please submit a nomination letter discussing the nominee’s specific contributions that meet the above criteria for the Jean Bruneau, OC, Certificate of Merit.

Nominees must complete a Consent and Eligibility Form confirming their agreement to the nomination and also confirming whether, in any province or territory of Canada, they are the subject of an ongoing allegation or complaint; whether they have pleaded guilty before an adjudication tribunal to conduct deserving of sanction or were found guilty by an adjudication tribunal of conduct deserving of sanction; and/or whether they were found guilty of, or are subject to, previous or ongoing litigation matters.

The award should be granted sparingly and is not 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 or on some other appropriate occasion.

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.

Early Career Achievement Award

The Early Career Achievement Award recognizes an early career lawyer who has demonstrated excellence in their practice and dedication to the profession.

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must:

  • be a member in good standing with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • currently practice law within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • be under forty years of age and/or within their first ten years of call to the bar of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • have shown excellence in their work;
  • have demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to the profession; and
  • have shown a commitment to professional and ethical standards.

To nominate an individual, please submit the following:

A nomination letter discussing how the nominee meets the above criteria for the Early Career Achievement 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; and
  3. any other contributions in the area of service to the profession.

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 or at some other appropriate occasion.

Life Membership

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