Law: Helen Kinnear

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Helen Kinnear
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Helen Kinnear (Herstory 1987) had a number of firsts in her legal career. She was admitted to Osgoode Hall in 1917, after finishing a degree at the University of Toronto. She was called to the bar on 21 October 1920. She joined her father's law firm and he changed the name to Kinnear and Kinnear to reflect Helen's presence.

Her law career flourished. In 1934, she became the first woman in Canada to be appointed King's Council and was later the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court. In 1943, she was appointed a county court judge and was the first woman in the British Commonwealth to be appointed at this level.

In 1953, she was awarded a honourary Doctor of Laws. She also served on two Royal Commissions looking into various aspects of the Criminal Code.



How often do we stop and think of the pioneer women who led the fight for the economic and political freedom women enjoy today?
(Violet McNaughton, 1933)


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