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LAO seeks exceptional nominees for Sidney B. Linden Award

Posted on: Tuesday, April 29 /2008

Given annually since 2005, the Sidney B. Linden Award honours the first Chair of Legal Aid Ontario, who was involved in legal aid for over 30 years. Justice Linden's distinguished career was characterized by a genuine commitment to access to justice.

The award recognizes exceptional individuals who have demonstrated longstanding commitment to helping low-income people, and made outstanding contributions of time, expertise and/or service to access to justice in Ontario.

Since its inception, the Sidney B. Linden Award has been presented to three deserving recipients, including J. Robert Kellerman, Paul Copeland and the late Dianne Martin.

Dianne Martin Dianne Martin - 2005
Dianne Martin received the first Sidney B. Linden Award posthumously. Ms. Martin's legal career spanned almost 30 years:

  • Law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Co-founder of the Innocence Project
  • One of the founding directors of the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC)
  • Helped reform Canada's midwifery laws
  • Helped reform rape laws in the late 1970's

Paul Copeland Paul Copeland - 2006
Paul Copeland has served low-income people since the inception of legal aid services over 40 years ago:

  • A Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada for 18 years and has served as committee chair on clinic funding, women in the legal profession, equity & diversity and equity & Aboriginal issues
  • Co-founded the Law Union of Ontario in 1974 - a group dedicated to promoting social justice - and remains a member of the steering committee
  • Vice-Chair of the Legal Aid Committee from 1991-1996
  • Vice President of the Criminal Lawyers Association from 1985-1991
  • President of the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC)

J. Robert Kellerman J. Robert Kellerman - 2007
J. Robert Kellerman has been a champion for vulnerable people in Ontario throughout his nearly 40-year legal career:

  • Provides legal support for groups representing workers, gay communities, individuals with mental health and addiction issues, aboriginals, the poor, anti-racism activists, students, environmentalists and AIDS activists.
  • Co-founded the Law Union of Ontario and serves as a member of its steering committee.
  • Served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Criminal Lawyers' Association.
  • Course director at Atkinson College of York University on the Nature and Function of Law and high school guest lecturer on the nature of law and the legal system
  • Participant in the Law Society of Upper Canada Bar Admission Course panel discussions on ethical questions in the practice of criminal law

Submit Your Nominations
Nominations are now open for the 2008 Sidney B. Linden Award. Nominate your favourite Advocate, Champion, Trailblazer by June 30, 2008. Click here for the nomination form (PDF with English & French form)

Nomination Form

About Justice Linden

Justice Linden had a long history of "firsts" throughout his career.
1980-1985 - First Police Complaints Commissioner for Metropolitan Toronto
1985-1987 - First Executive Director of the Canadian Auto Workers (C.A.W.) Prepaid Legal Services Plan
1987-1990 - Ontario's first Information and Privacy Commissioner
1990 - Appointed Chief Judge of the newly established Ontario Court of Justice (Provincial Division)

Quick Facts

Toronto sculptor, Siggy Puchta, designed the Sidney B. Linden Award. The statue depicts the concept of access to justice through the upward and open gesture of "the lady of justice" holding the scales of justice while at the same time welcoming those in need of legal aid services. Siggy's design also captures the spirit of LAO's logo.

Sidney B. Linden Award