Canadian Bar Association
Feb. 20, 2020
Professor wins national award for outstanding contribution
The Ramon John Hnatyshyn award is given to recognize outstanding contribution in law reform, legal scholarship and/or legal research. Jennifer was presented the award on February 19, 2020 at the annual Canadian Bar Association President's Dinner in Ottawa.
"I am so honoured to have been recognized by the CBA for my research and law reform work, especially because so much of it has been collaborative. This award is the product of the commitment and activism of many, and I'm so thankful," says Jennifer.
Jennifer's contributions to law reform are many and varied. She has been engaged within formal law reform processes at two stages in her career. Early in her career Jennifer was retained by the BC Law Institute to work on Civil Remedies for Sexual Assault. She has also been serving as the Faculty’s nominee as a Director of the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) and as such has been involved in providing oversight for ALRI’s ongoing projects including projects on Property Division for Common-law Couples, Adverse Possession, and the Alberta Evidence Act.
In addition to these formal contributions, Jennifer has made numerous more informal contributions to law reform. These include important work by her and her students in 2014 and 2015 dealing with the exclusion of farmworkers from Alberta’s labour and employment legislation, which were tabled in the Alberta Legislature in December, 2015 during debate on Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. Jennifer’s ongoing research on domestic violence has also led to legislative reforms.
"In addition to her law reform achievements, Jennifer has made massive contributions to public legal education on the law of sexual assault, specifically through her contributions to ABlawg, the law school's scholarly blog," says Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton, one of Jennifer's nominators. "She has also made numerous presentations to provincial and superior court judges across Canada on sexual assault, domestic violence and equality rights."
In 2004, Jennifer was a founding member of the Women’s Court of Canada, the first feminist judgment project, which has now spawned similar projects in England and Wales, Australia, the United States, and a number of other countries and regions. She has published several feminist judgments herself, and one of those – “Marriage and Advance Consent to Sex: A Feminist Judgment in R v JA” (2016) 6:6 Oñati Socio-Legal Series 1377-1404 – is believed to be the first feminist judgment cited by a court internationally (see R. v. Goldfinch, 2019 SCC 38).
“Jennifer has been my colleague for eight and a half years, and I can think of few people more deserving for this Award – or, indeed, who better exemplify the spirit and ethos of Mr. Hnatyshyn – than her," says Ian Holloway, dean of the law school.
Established in 1993 by then-Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn, The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law celebrates exemplary contributions to the law or legal scholarship in Canada.