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Professor Elaine Craig named 2019 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award co‑recipient
The Schulich School of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Elaine Craig has been named a co-recipient of the 2019 Torys LLP Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award for her work on the legal profession’s role in causing unnecessary harms to complainants in sexual assault trials. She shares the award with Sunny Marriner, a leader in Canadian law reform for criminal justice treatment of sexual assault.
“We are honoured to have two incredibly deserving candidates accept the award this year,” says Deepa Mattoo, the interim executive director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. “Both Elaine and Sunny are exceptional women who are driven to expose and correct systemic failures in a process established to serve and protect survivors fairly and without bias.”
The Toronto-based clinic offers legal, counselling, and interpretation services to marginalized populations of women who have survived violence. It was established in memory of Barbra Schlifer, a young lawyer whose life was cut short by violence on the night of her call to the Bar in Ontario on April 11, 1980.
There are so many dedicated and brilliant women working every day to improve our societal response to the problem of sexually harmful behaviour. — Professor Elaine Craig
Craig’s research strives to make the legal profession and the legal system more accountable for the harms it causes—and more humane for sexual assault survivors. “There are so many dedicated and brilliant women, like Sunny Marriner, working every day to improve our societal response to the problem of sexually harmful behaviour,” she says. “It is truly humbling to be given this honour.”
Last year, Craig published Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession. The groundbreaking book is a thorough evaluation of the legal culture and courtroom practices prevalent in sexual assault prosecutions. In it, Craig makes serious, substantiated, and necessary claims about the ethical and cultural failures of the Canadian legal profession. She also provides suggestions to make the criminal trial process less traumatic for complainants without threatening the rights of the accused.
Craig will receive the award in Toronto on June 6 at the Annual Tribute, the largest fundraising event for the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.
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