Shakespeare in Court: A Play With Appeal

Last night UWO Law hosted a presentation by law and undergraduate students of the trial scene from Merchant of Venice. Following the play, an appeal was heard to the Western Law Moot Court, featuring an all-star line-up.

Shylock’s sentence was appealed by Earl Cherniak, QC, and the Attorney General of Ontario Chris Bentley represented Antonio.

The bench in the appeal consisted of Justice Ian Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Eileen Gillese of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Antoni Cimolino, General Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Professor James Purkis from the Department of English at Western and legal journalist and author Jeffrey Miller.

(Far Left) Irfan Premji, Earl Cherniak (Front) Prof. Stephen Pitel (Back, From Left) Jeffrey Miller, Antoni Cimolino, Justice Ian Binnie, Justice Eileen Gillese, James Purkis (Far Right) Christopher Bentley, Andre Cormier

Prof. Stephen Pitel said,

There are great connections between law, literature, and drama. The common law is based on a strong narrative tradition and the courtroom is often compared to a theatre. So pairing appellate advocacy and Shakespeare has tremendous potential.

Now I did manage to get some clips of the event, though the resolution is poor and I missed major parts of it. But I’m working on a student budget here, and I’m still certain that the numerous references to Facebook, Twitter, legal aid certificates, and circumcision (I kid you not), will still leave you amused and entertained. Not only did this event reach its potential, it exceeded it by far.

And without further ado, here is the appeal of Shylock’s judgment, after some 411 years:

Shakespeare in Court: A Play with Appeal – Appellant’s submissions from Omar2 on Vimeo.

Shakespeare in Court: A Play with Appeal – Respondent’s submissions from Omar Ha-Redeye on Vimeo.


  1. Thanks for this – not quite as good as being there, but better than not having it at all. Others can discuss what rights may be violated by this recording. I have myself used it only for private study (but then I grew up in Stratford…)

  2. Well, I had a go-ahead from the organizers, even some encouragement. And they themselves recorded the entire event, though I suspect it will be quite some time before it ever makes its way online.

    Not sure any copyright would be violated regardless unless there is some explicit prohibition or policy against doing so. But that question I’ll leave to the lawyers.

    More coverage here:

  3. More coverage from UWO here, including complete audio of the event.