Windsor Lawyers Recognized for Contributions to Access to Justice

  • February 15, 2023

Ontario Bar Association Honours the Efforts and Dedication of The Honourable Mary Jo Nolan and Jasminka Kalajdzic

The Ontario Bar Association is recognizing two Windsor women for the significant impacts they have made through their access to justice work.

OBA members have always been willing to step up and do the work that needs to be done. With this in mind, the association has created special regional recognitions for lawyers who have done – and continue to do – critical work when it comes to access to justice in Ontario. The inaugural recipients in the Southwest Region are The Honourable Mary Jo Nolan and Prof. Jasminka Kalajdzic.

“As a long-time member of the association, one of the things I’ve been most proud of is the unbelievable amount of pro bono work our members are doing, as well as the numerous other ways they have been contributing to improving access to justice,” says OBA President Karen Perron. “We know that this work is the cornerstone of a fair and just society. It ensures that individuals, regardless of their background, can access the legal system.”

Justice Nolan became a lawyer after working 15 years as a child welfare advocate, helping vulnerable clients access equitable justice. She was the first female case management master in Ontario, and the first female judge to be appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Essex County. Justice Nolan served on the provincial Civil Rules Committee, has taught at the University of Windsor, and, since retiring from the bench, has continued to help her community as a mediator and arbitrator.

Prof. Kalajdzic teaches at the University of Windsor and is the founding director of the Class Actions Clinic at Windsor Law. An author of two books and numerous legal articles, she is a sought-after lecturer and well-respected expert on class actions law, and her research into access to justice issues in Canada is considered some of the best.

“Both Justice Nolan and Prof. Kalajdzic personify the idea that lawyers play a critical role in levelling the playing field, ensuring that everyone has the ability to access the legal system and assert their rights,” Perron says. “Lawyers like them not only help people navigate the system, they also advocate for fairer laws and policies that promote access to justice for all, and provide knowledge and guidance to those in need, as well as to other lawyers.”

About the Ontario Bar Association

Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario representing over 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.