Former dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School died Dec. 18

The esteemed Gerald Eric Le Dain, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School from 1967 to 1972, died Tuesday, Dec.18, 2007 in Toronto. He was 83.

He will be missed by family and former colleagues at York.

Le Dain was a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada – appointed by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau – from 1984 until his retirement in 1988. One year later, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Right: Gerald Eric Le Dain

A Second World War veteran, Le Dain received his law degree from McGill University and was called to the bar in Quebec in 1949. He then went on to study at the University of Lyon in France where he received his Docteur de l’Université in 1950. From 1953 to 1959 and again from 1966 to 1967, Le Dain taught law at McGill University. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1968, one year after becoming dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.

Born in Montreal, Le Dain is well known for heading up a federal commission of inquiry from 1969 to 1973 that looked into the non-medical use of drugs across Canada. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were two of the more famous people interviewed by the commission, which produced four reports and recommended that marijuana be decriminalized – removed from the Narcotic Control Act. Two years later, Le Dain began serving on the Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court.

A York bursary was named in his honour in 2001 – awarded annually to an Ontario student, who is a Canadian citizen and a permanent resident, registered in the graduate program in law and in financial need. Le Dain was inducted into the York Founders’ Society in 2000 for his contribution to the University during its founding years.

A funeral was held on Dec. 28 at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa.