Harry Arthurs receives honorary doctorate

Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Harry Arthurs, a York president emeritus, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of civil laws by the Faculty of Education of the University of Windsor. The ceremony took place during the Ontario university’s spring convocation on June 4. The honour reflects Arthurs’ international stature in legal education and legal scholarship and it is his eighth honorary doctorate.

Right: Harry Arthurs

“The fact that the Faculty of Education has decided to award an honorary doctorate reflects Professor Arthurs’ particular contribution to legal education, not only as an educator but also as author of the landmark 1984 SSHRC report Law and Learning,” said Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School. “This is yet another in a long list of honours, including his being named the winner of the Killam Prize in Social Sciences in 2002, marking a truly remarkable career.”

Arthurs is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is one of Canada’s most distinguished lawyers, educators and legal scholars. Principal author of the influential Law and Learning, a report on legal research and education in Canada, he is internationally recognized as the foremost figure in Canadian legal scholarship. He pioneered research into the relationship between law and society, and his work in labour and administrative law has had a significant influence on Canadian policy-makers.

Born in Toronto, Arthurs earned law degrees at the University of Toronto and Harvard University and was called to the bar in 1961. He immediately joined the faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School, where he served as dean from 1972 to 1977. He served as president of York University from 1985 to 1992, and in 1995, he was appointed University Professor of Law and Political Science.

Known as an academic innovator, his most important book, Without the Law, was a study of administrative justice and legal pluralism in 19th-century England. He has also written and co-written five monographs, published some 90 scholarly articles in Canadian and foreign journals, edited or co-edited numerous collections, casebooks, conference proceedings and reports, and delivered scores of lectures, conference papers and presentations to academic, public, government and professional audiences.

In addition to his university career and his work as a labour mediator, arbitrator, policy adviser and administrator, Arthurs has been extensively involved in professional and public issues. He has served as a member of the Economic Council of Canada, bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and director of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development.

He has been an academic visitor at McGill University, University of Toronto, Cambridge University, Oxford University and University College London, a 1984 Killam Research Fellow and an associate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research from 1995 to 1998. He was one of five prominent Canadian scholars to be honoured with the 2002 Killam Prize.