Fred Kaufman

The Honourable Fred Kaufman is a distinguished figure in Canadian law. In 1992, Mr. Kaufman was appointed Member of the Order of Canada. He is a special Fellow of the Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada and an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Judges Conference.

Mr. Kaufman was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, and as a teen he was one of Kindertransport children evacuated to Great Britain. A year later, he was deemed an ‘enemy alien’ and sent to the Internment Camp at Minto, New Brunswick, and later to Sherbrooke, Quebec where he was released in 1942. Before returning to university and eventually working as a lawyer, Mr. Kaufman worked for six years as a journalist. After practicing criminal law for nearly two decades, he was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal, where he served for 18 years, including a year as Acting Chief Justice of Quebec.

His extraordinary career included appointments to numerous commissions, including to the review of the government’s response to reports of abuse by provincial employees against former residents of provincial institutions. He was also appointed the commissioner in the inquiry on proceedings involving Guy Paul Morin, and in 2002 he conducted review of the application of Steven Truscott against his conviction for murder in 1959, eventually leading to Truscott’s acquittal in 2007.

In 1971 Mr. Kaufman was appointed the Queen’s Counsel. From 1980 to 1990, he served on the Judicial Advisory Panel of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, and from 1985 to 1990 he was a member of the Advisory Task Force on the new Criminal Code. From 1996 to 1997, he was Chair of the Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice.

Mr. Kaufman has also acted as an educator. For example, at McGill University he taught Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence, and Advanced Evidence in the Faculty of Law and Medical Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Medicine. He also lectured at Laval University and Concordia University. From 1991 to 1994, he was an Adjunct professor in the Faculty of Management at McGill.

Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Books

Searching for Justice: An Autobiography (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 2005), pp. 320.