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The Law Society of Ontario will present a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), to The Honourable Leonard S. Mandamin at its afternoon Call to the Bar ceremony on June 26, 2018 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
Justice Mandamin received the honorary LLD in recognition of his work as a highly respected and dedicated leader within the legal profession and the Indigenous community. He was also recognized for his leadership on the reconciliation of Indigenous perspectives with the common law and civil law perspectives in the administration of justice —and on the development of Federal Court Aboriginal Law Guidelines, which are the first of their kind in Canada.
Born in 1944, Justice Mandamin is an Anishnawbe member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. He was educated at University of Waterloo (B.A.Sc. – Electrical Engineering 1971) and University of Alberta (LL.B. 1982). He was called to the Alberta Bar in 1983..
Justice Mandamin articled and was an associate lawyer with Ackroyd, an Edmonton law firm. He later set up his own law practice and in 1985, established the law firm Mandamin and Associates on the Stony Plain Indian Reserve at Enoch, Alberta. He represented First Nations, Indigenous organizations and individuals on a wide variety of issues.
Justice Mandamin appeared as counsel before the Alberta Queen’s Bench and Provincial Courts and before the Supreme Court of Canada (R. v. Badger), Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (R. v. Wolfe) and the Indian Claims Commission (Cold Lake First Nations Claim).
He was Faculty Co-ordinator for Aboriginal Justice Seminars at the Banff School of Management and Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Native Studies, Commissioner and Chairperson of the Edmonton Police Commission (1991 – 1995) and President of the Canadian Native Friendship Centre in Edmonton, Alberta (1990).
Justice Mandamin also held the position of Provincial Court judge in the Calgary Criminal Division of the Provincial Court of Alberta (1999 – 2007). He presided in the Tsuu T’ina Court, which involved a First Nations peacemaker justice initiative and in the Siksika Provincial Court at Siksika, which also involved traditional Indigenous mediation.
Justice Mandamin has promoted legal education and training for Indigenous students throughout his legal career. While practising, he served as Principal for seven articling law students, six of whom are Indigenous. As an Alberta Provincial Court Judge, he presided over the Call to the Bar for several Indigenous law candidates, including three ceremonies held on First Nations reserves in the presence of the Indigenous student assemblies.
As a Federal Court Justice, he encouraged Indigenous law students to apply for Federal Court law clerkship and six of his 11 law clerks were Indigenous.
He was appointed Judge of the Federal Court and ex officio member of the Federal Court of Appeal, April 27, 2007. ?As a federal court justice, he has sat in many court venues across Canada and has served as member and chairperson of the Federal Court Aboriginal Law Bar Liaison Committee.