From Lexis, “Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society” and a New “Rule of Law Report”

Promoting awareness of what is being done and what can be done

My former colleague Jay Brecher has drawn my attention to the new Rule of Law Report published by Lexis Nexis. The company has long offered its support for the principle of the rule of law. More public service than corporate self promotion (although a bit of that too), Lexis has shown a genuine commitment to creating awareness of the efforts by the “little guy” to support the rule of law in Canada and elsewhere, as evidenced here by this new Rule of Law Report.

The inaugural issue reflects the softer side of the promotion of and support for the rule of law, specifically the work done by individuals in diverse environments to support the underpinnings of legal systems, by helping to ensure that justice is done and that no one is overlooked.

In Promoting the Rule of Law Overseas: A Law Students’s Experience in Jerusalem, Jimmy Burg, a Queen’s law student describes his experience as intern with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Jerusalem. Working on a gender analysis of the Palestinian legal system required to comply with the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women was a meaningful contribution in support of the rule of law.

Advocating for the Wrongfully Convicted recounts the story of Maria Shepherd and Jordan Carter, mother and son victims of Dr. Charles Smith, a pediatric pathologist and fraud without any formal training in forensic pathology, whose testimony formed the basis of the wrongful conviction of Maria of manslaughter in the death of her daughter. Now a licensed paralegal she is active with Innocence Canada, an organization devoted to assisting persons convicted in Canada of crimes they did not commit.

Finally, in Lawyers Feed the Hungry – 20 Years On and Still Going Strong Jay Brecher recounts the work of Martin Teplitsky, aided by Harvey Strosberg and Nancy Backhouse, in launching programs operated by lawyers in Ottawa, London, Windsor, Barrie, Hamilton, Peel and Toronto to prepare and serve meals to those in need. The only omission is the modest omission of Jay’s personal contribution in bringing the program off life support a few years back.

As if from another era, another time

Another Lexis initiative worth noting, albeit belatedly, is the publication of a beautifully produced coffee table book celebrating Canada at 150. I use the term coffee table with the utmost respect. Early in my publishing career, such books were the Crown jewels of publishing.

In “Building a Free and Democratic Society”, Lexis Nexis has combined thoughtful and beautiful illustrations, with just enough text to provide insight and context to an image that captures the essence of an issue or an event in Canadian Legal History. Each page brings to mind another piece of the past and the present story of Canada.

Interesting that “Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society” was created and published by an Anglo-Dutch business concern, rather than a Canadian publisher as would have been the case in times past.

Bravo Lexis Nexis Canada.


  1. Anand Ablack, VP Content, LexisNexis Canada

    Thanks for the comments, Gary. The entire team is very proud of what we’re doing with the Rule of Law Report, and the Canada at 150 special project last year.