Hon. Gérard V. La Forest

The Gérard V. La Forest Law Library bears the name of a distinguished jurist, legal academic, and public servant.

The Honourable Gérard V. La Forest was born in Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1926. He received his undergraduate education at St. Francis Xavier University and his legal education at the University of New Brunswick (B.C.L. 1949). As the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship he attended Oxford University where he was awarded a B.A. in Jurisprudence (1951), and subsequently an M.A. (1956). Having been admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1949, he spent several years in practice and government  service.

Gérard La Forest was appointed to the faculty of the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law as an Associate Professor in 1956 and promoted to Professor in 1963. At that time he elected to pursue further studies at Yale University while still teaching at UNB and was awarded an LL.M. in 1965 and a J.S.D. in 1966. He was named Queen's Counsel in New Brunswick in 1968.  His further academic career included a term as Dean of Law at the University of Alberta (1968–70) and appointment as Professor of Law and Director of the Legislative Drafting Program at the University of Ottawa (1979–81).

His role in government service has been no less varied. He has served as Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Canada (1970–74), as Commissioner for the Law Reform Commission of Canada (1974–79) and as Chairman of the Special Enquiry – Kouchibouguac National Park (1980–81). He also served the profession and the nation as Executive Vice-Chairman of the  Canadian Bar Association Committee on the Constitution (1977–78) while on leave from the Law Reform Commission. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick (1981–85) and subsequently to the Supreme Court of Canada (1985–1997).

He is currently University of New Brunswick's Distinguished Legal Scholar in Residence. New Brunswickers and Canadians have received the benefit of his legal acumen and intellectual rigour, and he continues to honour the University of New Brunswick, the Province and Canada through his outstanding service. Projects include chairing the tribunal for the Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Boundary Arbitration during 2000–2002. His intellect and achievements have been recognized around the world, as evidenced by the honours which have been bestowed on him. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and he has been awarded honorary doctorates by no fewer than eight universities, including the University of New Brunswick. In 2000, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

To view his publication and decision history, visit our bibliography of Hon. Gérard V. La Forest.