PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday announced the nomination of Mahmud Jamal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Trudeau said: “I am pleased to announce the nomination of Justice Mahmud Jamal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Respected around the world, Canada’s Supreme Court is known for its strength, independence, and judicial excellence. I know that Justice Jamal, with his exceptional legal and academic experience and dedication to serving others, will be a valuable asset to our country’s highest court.”
(According to the Toronto Star, Jamal is an Ismaili Muslim who became a member of the Baha’i faith when he married.)
Jamal had a distinguished career as a litigator with a deep commitment to pro bono work prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2019. He appeared in 35 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada on civil, constitutional, criminal, and regulatory issues. He also taught constitutional law at McGill University and administrative law at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is bilingual.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Chairperson of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments will soon appear before a special hearing of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to discuss the selection process and the reasons for the nomination, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee will then take part in a question and answer period with the nominee, joined by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and a member of the Green Party of Canada. This session will be moderated by Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Dean of the Civil Law section at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.
This nomination will fill the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella. It represents the fourth nomination under the Supreme Court appointment process launched by the Government of Canada in 2016 to promote greater openness, transparency, and accountability.
JAMAL was born in Kenya, raised in England, and completed high school in Edmonton. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law degrees from the Faculty of Law, McGill University, and a Master of Laws from Yale Law School, which he attended on a Fulbright Scholarship. He served as law clerk to Justice Melvin Rothman of the Quebec Court of Appeal and Justice Charles Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Jamal, who is bilingual, practised with Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP in the fields of appellate litigation, constitutional and public law, class actions, and commercial litigation. He appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in 35 appeals addressing a wide range of civil, constitutional, criminal, and regulatory issues. He also appeared before various provincial courts, the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and Tax Court of Canada, and federal and provincial administrative tribunals.
Jamal was a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, The Advocates’ Society, and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. He was a member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute and a trustee of the Canadian Business Law Journal. He has taught constitutional law at McGill University, administrative law at Osgoode Hall Law School, and published widely in his areas of practice. He was also chair of Osler’s pro bono program and a member of its Partnership Board.
In 2019, he was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
He and his wife, Goleta, are the proud parents of two teenagers.