Q + A with The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell

Practice Point

Q + A with The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell

CLEBC is honoured to have retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell deliver the opening address at our upcoming Administrative Law Conference.

In excited anticipation, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell about current trends in administrative law, his advice for lawyers advocating before the Supreme Court of Canada, and his plans after retirement.

Q: What topic(s) will you be speaking to in your opening address at Administrative Law Conference 2016?

A: I am looking forward to speaking about trends in administrative law and issues that will confront us in the coming years.

Q: What important developments and trends do you currently see in the area of administrative law?

A: We continue to see the inevitable tension that exists throughout the law between categories and context. We are also seeing more examples of how fundamental rights and important common law principles play out before administrative decision-makers and then on judicial review. We are also seeing more interplay between private and public law principles.

Q: What advice do you have for lawyers advocating before the Supreme Court of Canada?

A: Always remember that leave to appeal was granted because the Court saw an issue or issues of broad public importance and pitch your argument accordingly. This will likely require you to think “around” the case in the sense of helping the Court to decide which direction will be best for the development of the law.

Q: What is next for you after retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada?

A: The Chief Justice has asked me to stay on as chair of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters and I have enthusiastically accepted. I eventually hope to find a new professional home in a law firm, but I expect to be tied up with Court business until the end of the year. Under our Act, we have up to six months to participate in matters heard while still a member of the Court.

Q: Any memorable moments from the bench or messages to our readers that you would like to share?

A: There are so many! One thing that always impresses me is when I see a young lawyer, obviously very nervous – perhaps in the Court for the first time – do a superb job.