A diverse justice system is essential, and these claims have implications for the relationship between judicial diversity and merit, Judge Jamal said. “Merit is not assessed first and separated from traditional diversity, with diversity entering traditional selection once there is a shortlist of people deserving of merit. On the contrary, diversity in all its forms is itself a component of merit. “

Judges, lawyers and legal scholars discussed the advancement of EDI in the legal industry at Legal Voices, Diverse Ideas, and Inclusive Futures hosted by Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University . The conference provided a space for dialogue, reflection and insightful action on EDI in legal education and practice.

The Balancing the Bench panel moderated by Chief Justice of Ontario George Strathy included judges from the provincial, superior and appellate courts of Ontario who discussed the importance of increasing judicial diversity and the challenges of justice. profession to improve EDI.

Former Court of Appeal Judge Harry LaForme encourages young lawyers and law students to see the bench as part of their aspirations because it is so crucial. He says lawyers and academics that are indigenous or members of a visible race interested in the judiciary should expect to be scrutinized differently and harsher than other colleagues, and that can come primarily from their communities.

When he started his legal career, Justice LaForme said people in his community didn’t think he was a real lawyer. “They thought it was the system that sorted things out and I was a symbolic person.”