The Shylock Appeal

Slaw readers interested in the theatre may want to mark the date of the Shylock Appeal, which will take place at the Stratford Festival on Saturday, October 5, at the Studio Theatre (behind the Avon Theatre), at 10:30 a.m. Alan Lenczner and another leading advocate will argue Shylock’s sentence before a panel of judges including Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and former Justice Ian Binnie. With actors in the other roles, this day in court will be as entertaining as it is judiciously sound.

The last time the case was argued Shylock succeeded by 7 votes to 2.


Almost twenty-five years ago, I directed the first such historical appeal in Canada. Presiding over Socrates v. City of Athens was a panel chaired by Justice Bertha Wilson, with juge en chef Alan Gold de la Cour supérieure du Québec, along with a recently appointed justice from British Columbia Beverley McLachlin. Counsel for the defendant facing the Hemlock was Eddie Greenspan and Sheila Block, with Ontario Attorney General Ian Scott and Jack Giles acting for the prosecution. The Court held that death by hemlock was cruel and unusual punishment and that Socrates had been denied procedural fairness.

We’ll keep an eye out for further details of the Shylock sequel later in the Summer.

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