Fonds 1294 - Martin Lawrence Friedland fonds

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UTA 1294


Martin Lawrence Friedland fonds


  • 1868-2020 (Creation)

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55.97 m of records (351 boxes)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Martin Lawrence Friedland was born in Toronto in 1932. He was educated at the University of Toronto, first in commerce and finance (BCom 1955). He was a member of the Commerce Club, the Hart House Music Committee and Hillel, was successively 3rd year president and president of the University College Literary and Athletic Society, and a champion debater. He also played squash and water polo and was a member of the 1954 champion senior intercollegiate water polo team. He then studied law (LLB 1958), where he was the gold medallist in his graduating year. He took his graduate training at Cambridge University, from which he received his PhD in 1967.

Professor Friedland’s career has embraced several areas where he has utilized his knowledge of commerce and finance as well as of law. He has been a university professor and administrator, a shaper of public policy in Canada through his involvement with provincial and federal commissions, committees and task forces, and is an author of international standing.

Professor Friedland was called to the Ontario Bar in 1960. His contribution to the formation of public policy in Canada began with his earliest research, a study of gambling in Ontario (1961). Over the next few years his work as a legal associate, consultant, and committee member helped shape the Ontario Securities Act (1965), the Ontario Legal Aid Act (1966), the Ontario Regional Detention Centres Act (1967) and the Ontario Provincial Courts Act (1968). As a member of the Federal Task Force on the Canadian Corporations Act (1967-1968), Professor Friedland contributed to the Canadian Business Corporations Act that was finally passed in 1974.

In 1971 he was appointed a full-time commissioner of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, serving only one year before returning to Toronto as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. His study on access to the law was published in 1975 and he continued to do work for the Commission into the 1980s, especially on national security and criminal codification. In the 1990s he contributed to the discussion on the formation of a new Law Commission.

In 1975 Professor Friedland served as a consultant to the Solicitor General of Canada’s Task Force on Gun Control and authored a background study on the subject. He has retained his interest and involvement in the issue as it unfolded in the 1990s and beyond. Appointed in 1977 to hear cases under the Ontario Human Rights Act, he sat on a number of boards of inquiry until 1995, when his contract was not renewed. From 1978 to 1980 he was a consultant to the McDonald Commission during its enquiry into the activities of the RCMP and national security, for which he prepared another background study. The result was the Canadian Security and Intelligence Act of 1984.

In the 1980s he served as a consultant to the Canadian Sentencing Commission and to the Law Reform Commission of Canada. The principal issues he addressed were the sentencing structure, a review of the Criminal Code, and offences against public order. In 1987-1988 he chaired the Ontario Task Force on the controversial issues of inflation protection for employment pension plans. Though legislation was introduced, the report was not, in the end, implemented. In 1989 he took part in the Royal Society of Canada’s study on tobacco, nicotine and addiction and began serving part-time on the Ontario Securities Commission (until 1991).

In 1992 the Canadian Judicial Council commissioned Professor Friedland to undertake a study of judicial independence and accountability in Canada; the report was issued in 1995. He also served as a consultant to the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces in Somalia (1995-1997). Beginning in 1996, a series of contracts with the office of Attorney General of Ontario enabled him to participate in the review of a “range of policy issues that were being debated in the department. These included issues relating to a possible court services agency and questions concerning the devolution of a number of criminal justice matters to other bodies, including devolution of responsibility for the Provincial Offences Act to municipalities.” In addition, his involvement in departmental roundtable discussions and the Crown Policy Manual Review Committee provided insights into the high-profile legal cases of Guy Paul Morin and Paul Bernardo, and issues arising there from, including “jail-house confessions and forensic laboratories”. In July 1997, at the request of the Ontario Legal Aid Review Committee, he submitted a study on the governance of the Ontario Legal Aid Plan, and in 1998 he served as a consultant to the Ontario Criminal Justice Review.

Since 2001 and the emphasis on security, Professor Friedland’s experiences from his work with the McDonald Commission has led to participation in a number of workshops and conferences relating to terrorism. The federal Department of Justice asked him to examine and prepare a critical analysis of the government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation. In 2005 he served as a consultant on the policy aspects of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar. In 2009 he was appointed a member of the Legal Aid Ontario Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice.

While carrying out these public duties, Professor Friedland established an impressive record as an academic. His career began at the Osgoode Hall Law School in 1961 but in 1965 he returned to his alma mater as an associate professor in the Faculty of Law. He was promoted to full professor in 1968 and dean in 1972, a position he held for seven years. During his sabbatical in 1979-1980 he was Visiting Professor successively at the faculties of law in the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, and at the Institute of Criminology at Clare Hall, Cambridge University. In 1984 he was cross-appointed to the Centre of Criminology and made a University Professor in 1985. He was a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and from 1986 to 1989 was director of its Law and Society Program. He served as acting dean of the Faculty of Law in 1995 and retired in 1998.

Professor Friedland has played a very active role in university governance. He was elected a member of the President’s Council in 1969, the same year that he began chairing the Commission on University Government Programming Committee. This committee reviewed the University of Toronto’s governing structure; the result was the replacement of the bicameral system (Board of Governors and Senate) with the unicameral Governing Council. In the 1960s and the 1970s he served on other committees, including the Human Experimentation Committee (1965-1970), the Presidential Tenure Review hearings (chair, 1973-1975), the Governing Council (1974-1976) and the Research Board (1973-1976). From 1978 to 2008 he was a member (chair from 1995) of the manuscript review committee of the University of Toronto Press and from 1992 to 2007 a member of its Board of Directors.

In the 1980s Professor Friedland was a member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Governing Council (1982-1983), of the Board of Directors of the University Settlement House (1982-1988), and chair of the Provost’s Committee on the Department of Architecture (1984). He has been a senior fellow of Massey College since 1985 and in 1991 served on the Presidential Commission on Conflicts of Interest. In 1995 he served as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Law. Currently (since 2007) he has chaired the University’s Grievance Review Panel.

Professor Friedland has been much sought after as a public speaker and is a prolific author. “Many of his writings have been cited and relied upon in legal research and judicial decisions throughout the common law world.” He has published over fifty articles and chapters in books, beginning with several, while still an undergraduate, in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review. These reflect his interest in such subjects as law reform, legal history, access to the law, gun control, and judicial independence. He has also published eighteen books.

His first book, "Detention before trial", a study of the bail system in Canada, appeared in 1965. It marked the first time a professor of law in Canada had gathered empirical evidence on the workings of the justice system and it led directly to the Bail Reform Act of 1971.

Professor Friedland’s second book, "Double jeopardy" (1969), was based on his doctoral thesis. "Courts and trials" (1975), an interdisciplinary series of lectures given in 1972-1973, was designed to show the link between professionalism and the academic study of law. "Access to the law" (also 1975), prepared for the Law Reform Commission of Canada, was written as a first step in making the law accessible to non-lawyers. His interest in law reform also resulted in "A century of criminal justice: perspectives on the development of Canadian law" (1984), which ranged beyond law reform to include various issues on criminal justice. "National security: the legal dimensions" (also 1984) arose from his involvement with the McDonald Commission.

A Canadian Institute for Advanced Research project that began in 1985 produced three studies. "Sanctions and rewards in the legal system" resulted from papers given at a 1986 symposium. The specific issues, ranging from tax compliance to family violence and prostitution, from the second stage of the project were written up as "Regulating traffic safety" (with Professor Friedland as a co-author) and "Securing compliance: seven case studies", both of which appeared in 1990.

Professor Friedland’s casebook, "Cases and materials on criminal law and procedure", first appeared in September, 1967. Between then and 2004 University of Toronto Press and Emond Montgomery have put out nine editions. Another volume emanating from the University of Toronto was "Rough justice: essays on crime in literature". It began as a seminar organized with the Department of English in 1986. The material was polished in later seminars and the book appeared in 1991.

Professor Friedland has also written three true crime books. "The Trials of Israel Lipski" (1984), about a Polish Jew hanged for murder in London in 1887, won the Crime Writers of Canada Award for Non-fiction and piqued the interest of filmmakers. An early twentieth century Canadian trial is featured in "The Case of Valentine Shortis" (1986). It, too, had film potential, but the untimely death of the National Film Board’s proposed director derailed the project. "The death of Old Man Rice" (1994), about the 1902 trial for the murder of the founder of Rice University, added an American component to Professor Friedland’s crime stories; it also aroused considerable interest. One of his current projects is researching a fourth murder mystery, based in India.

His two latest books on legal issues are "A place apart: judicial independence and accountability in Canada" (1995), prepared for the Canadian Judicial Council, and "Controlling misconduct in the military" (1997), a study commissioned by the Somalia Inquiry. The former led to Professor Friedland going to Beijing in 2000 to give a seminar on judicial ethics as a part of the Canada-China Senior Judges training program, and parts of the book have been translated into Chinese. Professor Friedland’s most recent major writing project has been "The University of Toronto: A history", the first university history in seventy-five years, which appeared in 2002 and which was awarded three prizes, the Toronto Heritage Award, the Floyd S Chalmers Award, and the J.J. Talman Award. More recently he has worked on a project, tentatively titled "Criminal justice in Canada revisited", which ended up as his memoirs, "My life in crime and other academic adventures" (2007). One of the many spin-offs from his writing the history of the University of Toronto is his introductory essay to Larry Richards’ "The University of Toronto: an architectural tour" (2009).

In recognition of his many services to his profession and his country, Professor Friedland has been the recipient of numerous honours. He was appointed federal Queen’s Council in 1975 and elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1983. In 1985 he received the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and Law Reform Commission of Canada Award for an “outstanding contribution to legal research and law reform.” In 1987 he received the Alumni Faculty Award from the University of Toronto. Two honours followed in 1990, Officer of the Order of Canada and the David W. Mundell Medal for “distinguished contributions to Letters and Law.” Two more followed in 1994, the Canadian Bar Association’s Raymond John Hnatshyn Award for an “outstanding contribution to the law and legal scholarship in Canada,” and the Criminal Law Association’s G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Award. In 1995 he received the Canadian Council’s Molson Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences for “outstanding achievements and exceptional contribution to the enrichment of the cultural life of Canada.” In 1996, in recognition of his academic and administrative achievements, he was named the first James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. He received an LLD from Cambridge University in 1997, and LLDs (honorary) from the University of Toronto in 2001 and York University in 2003. Also in 2003 he was the recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Sir John William Dawson Medal. In 2004 he was inducted as a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2009 he received a Bachelor of Applied Arts (honorary) from Humber College.

Professor Friedland lives in Toronto. His wife, Judith, Professor Emeritus, Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, has written a history of occupational therapy in Canada.

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Fonds consists of six accessions of records documenting the life of Martin L. Friedland, as a student, professor of law and administrator at the University of Toronto; as an expert on legal matters and a contributor to the formation of public policy at the provincial and federal levels; and as an author of several books and numerous articles, in particular the researching and writing of his book University of Toronto: A History (University of Toronto Press, 2002 & 2013).

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  • See attached PDF finding aid of all accessions (linked below), for further details and file listings.
  • Note: Accessions B2008-0033, B2014-0029, and B2020-0008 are described together in one finding aid.

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  • Finding aids compiled by Martin Friedland and revised by Harold Averill
  • Added to AtoM by E. Sommers, June 2018
  • Updated and added B2008-0033, B2014-0029 and B2020-0008 - A. Buttineau / E. Sommers, May 2022
  • Accessible finding aid - E. Sommers, May 2022




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