Ruth Sullivan Memorial Fund

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

Ruth Sullivan Scholarshipr169_1200675
Ruth Sullivan was a friend, mentor and colleague to many who knew her through her teaching and work as a legislative counsel.

A group of her former Faculty of Law colleagues are launching a campaign to honour her immense contribution to legal scholarship, teaching and practice, particularly in relation to the drafting and interpretation of legislation.

Ruth taught for 27 years at the Faculty of Law after graduating from the McGill University Faculty of Law at the top of her class and clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada. Her principal areas of teaching and research were in Public Law and Trusts, particularly legislative interpretation and drafting. She was a brilliant teacher, able to cut through the miasma of legalese and technicality to reveal the essential elements of law and legal analysis. She was a friend and mentor to hundreds of students who passed through her classroom.

After retiring from the University, Ruth joined the Legislative Services Branch of the Department of Justice Canada. Her work involved drafting bills and regulations as well as providing advisory support on legal questions relating to legislation. 

Ruth also appeared regularly as a speaker at conferences dealing with legislative topics and contributed substantially to the biennial Legislative Drafting Conferences of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.

Ruth brought a fresh critical perspective to her subjects and her work, including feminist and linguistic analysis. She assumed the authorship of Driedger’s Construction of Statutes and published the 3rd to 7th editions (most recently in 2022) of what has become the most widely cited text on legislative interpretation in Canada. She also published innumerable articles … contributing to a remarkable body of scholarship on these subjects”.

Since her passing last year, a group of Ruth’s friends and colleagues have come together to organize a campaign to create a fund (Ruth Sullivan Memorial Fund) to award an annual prize of $1,000 for the top student in Common Law Législation course. Depending on the amount raised, it will be awarded until the funds are exhausted, or indefinitely if funds are raised to generate enough annual income for the award. 

Contributions to the Ruth Sullivan Memorial Fund can be made online or by contacting Laura Payne.