The Honourable Louise Arbour C.C., G.O.Q.

Senior Counsel

Executive Summary

The Honourable Louise Arbour is a jurist in residence at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. In this capacity, she provides strategic advice on litigation, governance and international issues, in particular on issues pertaining to international disputes, and mentors younger lawyers.

Madam Arbour currently sits 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 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 has held senior positions at the United Nations, including that of High Commissioner for Human Rights, and is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty. Madam Arbour is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Coalition for the International Criminal Court. She chaired an inquiry commission that investigated certain 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 has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards. Most noteworthy, she has been a Companion of the Order of Canada since 2007 and a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec since 2009, as well as a Commander of the Légion d'honneur, and 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)

Publications & Presentations

​Louise Arbour has published many papers on criminal law and has given countless lectures on both national and international criminal law and human rights.

Rankings & 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.

Professional Activities

  • Member of advisory committees of prestigious organizations, including the International Advisory Board of the University of Ottawa School of Government and the Advisory Board for the World Bank's Development Report 2011 on "Conflict, Security and Development".
  • Honorary Member of the New York City Bar Association.
  • Member of selection committees for illustrious awards, including: the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award, the Roland Berger Human Rights Award, the OSCE's Max van der Stoel Award, and honorary membership in the Nansen Refugee Award Selecting Committee of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.