Louise Arbour

The Honourable Louise Arbour

C.C., G.O.Q.

Senior Counsel

Montréal
LArbour@blg.com
514.954.2547

The Honourable Louise Arbour is a jurist in residence. She provides strategic advice on litigation, governance and international disputes. She is an active mentor of younger lawyers.

She recently completed her mandate at the UN as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration, which led to the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration. She has also held other senior positions at the United Nations, including High Commissioner for Human Rights (2004-2008) and Chief Prosecutor for The International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda (1996 to 1999).

She formerly sat as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1999 to 2004, on the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Ontario. She chaired an inquiry commission that investigated events at the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario, and has also served as a member of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security.

Madam Arbour also formerly served as an ad hoc judge in the International Court of Justice and as a member of the Advisory Panel to the Minister of Defence on Canada's Defence Policy Review. She is currently a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the International Commission Against the Death Penalty and the Advisory Board of The Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

Madam Arbour has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards. Most noteworthy, she has been a Companion of the Order of Canada since 2007, a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec since 2009 and a Commander of the Légion d'honneur. She has been decorated by Spain, Colombia and Belgium.

 

Louise Arbour interviewed after being named laureate of the 2016 Tang Prize (starts at 8:00 — French only)

Experience

  • Member of advisory committees of prestigious organizations, including the Advisory Board for the World Bank's Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development.
  • Member of the board of the Mastercard Foundation and of the Fondation Mira
  • Co-President of the Ordre de Montréal Council

Beyond Our Walls

Professional Involvement

  • Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration (2017-2018)
  • President and CEO of the International Crisis Group (2009 to 2014)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2004 to 2008)
  • Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (1999 to 2004)
  • Chief Prosecutor for The International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda (1996 to 1999)
  • Member of the Court of Appeal for Ontario (1990 to 1999) (leave of absence from 1996 to 1999)
  • Member of the Supreme Court of Ontario (High Court of Justice) (1987 to 1990)
  • Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School (1977 to 1987) and appointed Assistant Dean in 1987

Community Involvement

  • Co-chair, Campus Montréal Fundraising Campaign

Awards & Recognitions

  • Named laureate of the 2016 Tang Prize in the Rule of Law category
  • Recognized in the 2014 edition of the Top 25 Most Influential in the justice system and legal profession of the Canadian Lawyer magazine (World Stage category)
  • Recipient of honorary doctorates from 40 universities across Canada and abroad
  • Justice Arbour has received some forty medals and awards, notably the Griffin Bell Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2013; the Council of Europe's North-South Prize in 2010; the United Nations Human Rights Prize in 2008; honorary membership in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; the Médaille de la Faculté de droit de l'Université de Montréal in 2003; the Médaille du Barreau in 2001 and the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Medal in 2000
  • Honorary Member of the New York City Bar Association

Bar Admission & Education

  • Québec, 1971
  • Law Society of Upper Canada, 1977
  • LL.L., Université de Montréal, 1970
  • B.A., College Regina Assumpta Montreal, 1967