Conference honours legacy of former Osgoode dean Peter Hogg

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Former Osgoode Hall Law School dean Peter Hogg’s seismic contribution to the Canadian legal world will be celebrated on Jan. 10, 2024, as leading legal minds from around the world will gather for a special event titled “His Brilliant Legacy: A Conference in Honour of Peter W. Hogg.”

Peter Hogg
Peter Hogg

The hybrid event will take place online and in-person at Osgoode Professional Development’s downtown Toronto campus at 1 Dundas St. W., Suite 2602. Tickets for in-person attendance are available now.

The conference honouring the former dean, whose impact on constitutional law and legislation in Canada has been described as “immeasurable,” will be attended by four sitting Supreme Court of Canada justices and three sitting judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Representing the country’s highest court will be Osgoode alum Justice Andromache Karakatsanis (LLB ’80), Justice Sheilah Martin, Justice Nicholas Kasirer and Justice Mahmud Jamal. From the Court of Appeal for Ontario will be Justice Patrick Monahan, a former Osgoode dean; Justice Lorne Sossin, another former Osgoode dean; and Justice James MacPherson. Speakers will also include Trevor Farrow, current Osgoode dean, and Mary Condon, Osgoode dean emerita and professor.

Hogg died at the age of 80 in February 2020. Among his achievements, he was credited for having the most academic citations in Supreme Court jurisprudence of any living scholar during his lifetime. He authored several books, including his authoritative volume Constitutional Law of Canada (Thomson Carswell, 2007), which remains the single most-cited book in decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2004, he was a key figure in the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in Canada.

Hogg was appointed a professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School in 1970 and became dean in 1998, serving until 2003, when he joined the Toronto law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP as a scholar in residence.

“Peter Hogg was the leading constitutional scholar of his generation, one of Osgoode’s most beloved professors, an outstanding dean, and a kind and generous human being,” said Justice Monahan, who is serving as a co-chair of the event.

“Because he passed away just at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been able to honour and recognize his unique contributions until now,” he added. “This conference will bring together outstanding academics, judges and lawyers from across Canada and abroad, all of whom share an admiration for Peter’s incredibly important legacy.”

Serving as honorary Chair of the conference is Harry W. Arthurs, York University president emeritus and Osgoode dean and professor emeritus. The remaining co-chairs will be Osgoode Professor Emerita Jamie Cameron and Osgoode Professor Sonia Lawrence.

“The conference is an important moment for Osgoode and the legal community across Canada to celebrate Peter’s brilliant legacy,” said Cameron. “The highlight of the program is a panel of Supreme Court judges, including justices Karakatsanis, Kasirer, Martin and Jamal, who will share their own reflections on Peter’s legacy.”

All of the speakers are experts from practice and academia who knew Hogg as a contemporary, who worked with him as their lawyer or who entered a field in which he was already a “quiet celebrity,” said Lawrence. “They’ll explore the significance of his scholarship and advocacy over his long and illustrious career.”

Those contributions will remain for many years after his passing, she added.

“Peter’s legacy is alive in the classroom every time we teach his work, when we teach the cases that he was quoted in and when we think about what it means to be a law teacher,” she explained. “I’m grateful that we have this dedicated time to consider his immense scholarly output and the legal questions and challenges he left us with.”  

For more information or to register for the event, visit the Eventbrite page. Learn more about Hogg’s career and contributions in this YFile story.