Bertha Wilson

Bertha Wilson

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Bertha Wilson

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Bertha Wernham Wilson, CC (September 18, 1923, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland – April 28, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) was a Canadian jurist and the first woman Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Early life

Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, the daughter of Archibald Wernham and Christina Noble, she received a Master of Arts degree in philosophy from University of Aberdeen in 1944. In 1949 Wilson emigrated to Canada with her husband, the Reverend John Wilson, whom she had married in 1945.

Professional career

She received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University and was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1957. She moved to Toronto in 1959, was called to the Ontario Bar and joined the firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. She became a partner in 1968.

She was the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1975. In 1982, she became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Wilson retired from the court in 1991 and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada that same year.

Wilson's Supreme Court rulings include: R. v. Morgentaler in 1988...
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