For over a decade and a half, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, first as a Justice and later as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (2000-2017), led with measured and collegial strength through a series of land-mark decisions that have contributed to shape and elevate the recognition and respect of essential human rights in Canada. She has been instrumental in defining and expanding the fundamental rights of Canadians in such key areas as the legalization of assisted dying, the expansion of Indigenous rights, and the rights of the accused before the courts and law enforcement. She also succeeded in achieving a significant number of decisions with full consensus of the Court, giving greater strength to the Court's decisions on central questions of law.
Ms. McLachlin has earned respect from all Canadians for humane judgements that have sought to protect the most vulnerable. As one of her nominators noted, “She has used her intelligence, compassion and keen legal mind to develop a foundation of rights that will serve the people of Canada for generations”.
Upon retirement, Chief Justice McLachlin was invited to serve as an external judge on the highest courts of Singapore and Hong Kong. This is significant global recognition from jurisdictions which practice several different legal traditions, and recognizes the trust and esteem in which she is held for a remarkable body of work.