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Julian Falconer

Falconer Charney LLP

Julian Falconer is a husband and father. With his wife and colleague Elisabeth, he has two boys, Ben who is 16 years old and Justin who is 11. He received his law degree from the University of Alberta and also holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. Julian is a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Born and raised in a small rural town in Quebec and being the son of a black Jamaican father and a white Jewish mother from Poland, Julian learned first-hand about issues of race in society. A major component of his work has involved advocacy in human rights and public interest litigation. In addition to various corporate interests, Julian has acted as counsel for numerous community service organizations including Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (First Nations government for Northern Ontario), the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted and Urban Alliance on Race Relations. Julian's more prominent individual clients have included Maher Arar, who made Canadian legal history in receiving the largest human rights settlement allotted to an individual plaintiff; the family of Ashley Smith, the 19 year who died in custody at Grand Valley Federal Penitentiary; and Adam Nobody and the “Free Press Four” in relation to their unlawful beatings and arrests during the G20 summit in Toronto.

At the appeal level, Julian's successful representation of the family of Manish Odhavji (fatally shot in the back by police) resulted in the leading Supreme Court decision on the right of citizens to sue public officials for abuse of their offices. Julian and his team have represented countless intervenors in human rights cases before the Court of Appeal including the Dee Brown case which ultimately led to the recognition for the first time of racial profiling as a legitimate and valid defence for minority communities.

Following the shooting death of Toronto high school student Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys School in May 2007, Julian was appointed to chair an independent inquiry into the safety of students across the Toronto school system. The School Safety Panel's work resulted in a five volume report entitled “The Road to Health”.

As a public speaker, Julian has addressed countless institutions (including the Empire Club and the Rotary Club of Canada) on a broad range of topics including justice reform, racism and education. He has published a range of articles on issues of race and constitutional law. In his more recent work, Julian co-authored a second edition of his book into the Coroners System in Ontario (LexisNexis Canada Inc.) and was also a contributing author to Honouring Social Justice, (Beare, M.E. ed.) (University of Toronto Press) (article entitled “State Misconduct: A Continuum of Accountability”).

In August 2010 the legal trade magazine, Canadian Lawyer, wrote that Julian Falconer “Deserves a spot high on any list of the country’s top advocates.” In February 2008, a Lawyers Weekly profile observed that “in the world of Canadian human rights law, it's hard to imagine a practitioner with more time in the spotlight in recent years than Julian Falconer”.

Honours: Named one of Canada's Top 25 most influential lawyers (Canadian Lawyer Magazine, August 2010 issue); the Distinguished Public Service award from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (2011); Selected as one of University of Toronto's 100 most notable graduates of the twentieth century; Recipient of the Alumni Honour Award from the University of Alberta for Community Contribution; Tropicana’s Community Builder Award (2011); Pride Magazine's African-Canadian Achievement Award; the Vision of Justice Award (Black Law Students Association-Canada); and Urban Alliance Race-Relations Medal; Listed in Who's Who in Black Canada, William, D.P.