OBA Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation

About the Award

The OBA Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation (the “Award”)was created by the Executive of the Civil Litigation Section to recognize contributions and achievements of members of the Ontario Bar Association in one or more of the following areas:

  • outstanding advocacy skills;
  • professionalism, integrity and civility;
  • teaching of civil litigation and practice;
  • the enhancement of the practice of civil litigation; and
  • leadership in the Civil Litigation Bar.

Only one Award shall be awarded annually.

1. Eligibility

  • 1.1 All OBA members who are practicing lawyers in Ontario, excluding current members of the Executive of the Civil Litigation Section or members of the Board of Directors of the OBA.

2. Nomination Committee

  • 2.1 A committee consisting of
  • 2.1.1 the Section Chair;
  • 2.1.2 the Section Vice Chair; and
  • 2.1.3 a third member selected by the Section Chair shall be formed and shall promote the Award and encourage nominations (the “Nomination Committee”).
  • 2.2 To promote the Award and to solicit nominations for the Award, the Nomination Committee shall work with OBA staff to encourage a more varied pool of applicants by approaching: 2.2.1 equity seeking groups;
  • 2.2.2 regional bar associations;
  • 2.2.3 by a request to all Regional Senior Judges in Ontario for identification of potential nominees at least 30 days prior to the close of nominations;
  • 2.2.4 by a request to all OBA Council Members for identification of potential nominees at least 30 days prior to the close of nominations; and
  • 2.2.5 by a request for nominations published at least 30 days prior to the close of nominations in the Ontario Reports;
  • 2.3 As an exception to clause 3.1.6, below, if the Nomination Committee receives a submission in respect of a nominee that, in its sole discretion, it determines should be considered by the Selection Committee (as defined below), the Nomination Committee may submit that name and direct OBA staff to gather any additional information required.

3. Nomination Process

  • 3.1 Nominations shall be solicited by the Nomination Committee:
  • 3.1.1 through members of the Executive of the Civil Litigation Section;
  • 3.1.2 through members of the Civil Litigation Bar throughout the Province of Ontario;
  • 3.1.3 any member of the Civil Litigation Section of OBA in good standing is eligible to nominate a candidate by submission in writing, together with a curriculum vitae outlining the nominee’s qualifications (if required by the Nomination Committee). Unless required by the Nomination Committee, the nominator is not required to advise (or obtain the consent of) the nominee of the nomination prior to the nomination deadline; and
  • 3.1.4 all nominations received by the Nominating Committee, which comply with the nomination criteria set out above, shall be forwarded to the Selection Committee, as defined below.
  • 3.2 Nominations and supporting materials must be filed through the OBA online nomination system by the deadline established by the OBA from time to time and in accordance with this policy.

4. Selection Committee

  • 4.1 A committee consisting of:
  • 4.1.1 the Past Chair of the OBA Civil Litigation Section, (hereinafter the “Committee Chair”);
  • 4.1.2 the Section Chair;
  • 4.1.3 the Section Vice Chair;
  • 4.1.4 a member of the OBA Equality Committee;
  • 4.1.5 the three most recent and available past recipients of the Award for Excellence;
  • 4.1.6 a representative Justice from the Superior Court of Justice; and
  • 4.1.7 a representative Justice from the Ontario Court of Appeal shall be formed (the “Selection Committee”).
  • 4.2 The Selection Committee shall perform the following functions:
  • 4.2.1 Review the information provided by the Nominating Committee;
  • 4.2.2 Ask OBA staff to obtain additional information about any candidate including letters of support and curriculum vitae, if required in the opinion of the Committee Chair; and
  • 4.2.3 otherwise coordinate matters relating to the Award.

5. Criteria for Selection

  • 5.1 The Award shall recognize proven outstanding skills in oral and written advocacy and one or more of the following attributes:
  • 5.1.1 contributions to legal education;
  • 5.1.2 contributions to the community through pro bono work and other projects or initiatives;
  • 5.1.3 leadership in the Civil Litigation Bar through sharing knowledge, experience, skill, commitment, by acting as a role model to the younger members of the profession as well as to his/her peers at the Civil Litigation Bar; and
  • 5.1.4 contributions to the development of civil litigation related policies, procedures, practice and legislation.
  • 5.2 The Selection Committee shall consider OBA policies, rules and guidelines on Diversity and Inclusion when selecting the winner of the Award.
  • 5.3 The Selection Committee shall choose the recipient of the Award from the candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee and shall not substitute or otherwise consider any other candidate.

6. Presentation

  • 6.1 The Award will be presented at an annual gala dinner hosted by the Civil Litigation Section, on a date and time and at a venue determined by the Civil Litigation Executive sitting during that annual term.

Deadline for Applications


Nomination form and supporting material must be filed no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, April 30, 2021 - 5:00pm


The Committee shall choose the recipient of the Award from the candidates submitted through the Nomination process.


The award shall be a special plaque or other award approved by the Executive Committee of the Civil Litigation Section, appropriate to the importance of this honour. Only one award shall be awarded annually.

Additional Information

Terrine Bird
Coordinator Sections
(800) 668-8900 or (416) 869-1047 x 339

Past Recipients

Past recipient winners of the OBA Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation include:

  • 2020 - Janice Payne
  • 2019 - Guy J. Pratte
  • 2018 - Linda Rothstein
  • 2017 - Peter Griffin, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP
  • 2016 - Chris Paliare, O.Ont., LSM, LL.B., LL.M.
  • 2015 - Patricia Jackson
  • 2014 - Jeffrey S. Leon, Toronto
  • 2013 - John F. Evans, Q.C., LSM, Hamilton
  • 2012 - Bryan Finlay, Toronto
  • 2011 - Harvey Strosberg, Windsor
  • 2010 - Bonnie Tough, Toronto
  • 2009 - Ben Zarnett, Toronto
  • 2008 - Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C, Toronto
  • 2007 - Alan J. Lenczner, Q.C., Toronto
  • 2006 - Sheila R. Block, LSM, Toronto
  • 2005 - David W. Scott, Q.C., Ottawa
  • 2004 - Earl A. Cherniak, Q.C., Toronto