Judges of the Court
The Honourable Mr. Justice Morris J. Fish
Justice Fish, son of Aaron S. Fish and Zlata Grober, was born in Montréal, Québec, on November 16, 1938. He married Judith Chinks, daughter of Henry I. Chinks and Freda Morowitz, on December 25, 1966. They have two daughters, Amy and Laura, and five grandchildren.
Justice Fish received a B.A. (with Distinction) from McGill University in 1959 and a B.C.L. (with First Class Honours) from the Faculty of Law at McGill in 1962, where he was a University Scholar and was elected Permanent Class President. Upon graduation from law school, he was awarded the Greenshields Prize, the Crankshaw Prize for Highest Standing in Criminal Law and the Macdonald Travelling Scholarship. During the ensuing year, 1962-63, he pursued postgraduate studies in Constitutional Law and Public Liberties at the Université de Paris.
Justice Fish was called to the Bars of Quebec in 1964, Prince Edward Island in 1968 and Alberta in 1974. He was an associate (1964-67) and partner (1967-89) in the Montréal law firm of Cohen, Leithman, Kaufman, Yarosky and Fish (and successors firms), and was created a Queen's Counsel in 1984.
An Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Justice Fish taught there as a sessional lecturer in Criminal Evidence and Procedure (1973-80) and Advanced Criminal Law (1986-89). From 1971 to 1974, he taught Les crimes économiques at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and, from 1969 to 1971, Droit pénal, at the Université de Montréal. He has over the years contributed to legal periodicals and lectured at numerous legal and judicial conferences in Canada and abroad.
Justice Fish has served as a consultant to the Federal Department of Justice, to Revenue Canada and to the Law Reform Commission of Canada, and as special counsel to the Québec Commission of Inquiry on the Construction Industry ("Cliche Commission") and the Security Intelligence Review Committee. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Bureau of Montréal (1968-73); a member and chair of various committees of the Bar of Montréal and the Bar of Québec (1969-76); chair of the Québec Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee (2000-2003, 2006); and member (1994- ) and chair (1996-2003) of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Law at McGill University.
Justice Fish received an honourary LL.D. from McGill University in 2001, and an honourary LL.D. from Yeshiva University in 2009. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2006, and was awarded the F.R. Scott Medal by the Faculty of Law at McGill in 2006, the Medal of Recognition of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law in 2008, and the G. Arthur Martin Medal in 2011 for his contribution to criminal justice in Canada. He delivered the H.L.A. Hart Memorial Lecture at Oxford University in 2007 and the Goodman Fellowship Lecture at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, in 2004.
While pursuing his legal studies, and later his career at the bar, Justice Fish was a staff reporter and editorial writer for The Montreal Star (1959-70), with special assignments in France, Sweden, Israel, Greece, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and the former USSR.
Appointed to the Québec Court of Appeal on June 30, 1989, Justice Fish was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada on August 5, 2003.