Charles Dubin – The passing of a Legal Legend
It was with considerable sadness that the legal community marked the passing of Charles Dubin last week. In its obituary, The Toronto Star called him "a legal giant" and a "national icon" and it was not alone. Charles Dubin was widely acknowledged as possessing a keen legal mind. He was also a superlative lawyer and an outstanding judge. He was a “man of the law”.
Charles Dubin was from a different era where great advocates seemed to tower over the profession (there were also a lot less lawyers and it was most definitely a closed shop). As with many of his generation, he represented both civil and criminal clients. Charles Dubin represented prime ministers and football players, bookies and major corporations. He was counsel to The Toronto Telegram and represented The Toronto Firefighters as well as Ontario Hydro’s employees. He also defended 15 capital murder trials before capital punishment was abolished (a daunting brief).
Charles Dubin was called to the Bar in 1944. In 1973, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 1983, he released a report on improving procedures at The Hospital for Sick Children after nurse Susan Nelles was cleared of killing four babies. He is perhaps most famous for his inquiry into the use of drugs in Canadian amateur sport following the disgrace of Ben Johnson at the Olympic Games in Seoul. In 1990, he became the Chief Justice of Ontario. He retired in 1996 and returned to private practice – a true champion of the law to the very end.
Charles Dubin will be missed by the profession.