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Schulich Law Professors Steve Coughlan and Elaine Craig named to the annual Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers list

Posted by Jane Doucet on August 6, 2019 in News, Alumni & Friends, Research
Professors Steve Coughlan and Elaine Craig
Professors Steve Coughlan and Elaine Craig

The Schulich School of Law is pleased to announce that Professors Steve Coughlan and Elaine Craig have been named to Canadian Lawyer’s 10th annual Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers list, which highlights the important and significant work jurists have done in the last 18 months or so.

Coughlan (LLB ’85) has been recognized in the Government/Non-Profits/Associations category. He led the efforts of Canada’s criminal law academic community in advising the Department of Justice on changes that led to the passage of Bill C-51, which removed outdated offences, reverse onuses, and non-Charter-compliant crimes from the Criminal Code. Coughlan was invited to speak to the deputy minister of justice in Ottawa repeatedly during this process.

Coughlan’s work to update the Criminal Code has led directly to greater links between the Department of Justice and the criminal law academic community. He has been the co-author of the Annual Review of Criminal Law for the past 15 years and co-author of the NJI Criminal Law e-letter, to which more than 1,200 judges subscribe. With such a large Canadian judiciary audience, he is having an impact on the development of Canada’s criminal law justice system.

Craig (LLB ’04, JSD ’10) has been recognized in the Human Rights, Advocacy, and Criminal category. In her work she strives to make the legal profession and the legal system more accountable for the harms it causes, in particular when it come to the treatment of survivors of sexual violence. Her research topics include evidence, criminal law ethics, constitutional law, feminist legal theory, and sexual assault law.

Last year, McGill-Queen’s University Press published Craig’s groundbreaking book, Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession, a thorough evaluation of the legal culture and harmful courtroom practices prevalent in sexual assault prosecutions. Her research has directly led to better education for judges and lawyers and discussions across the country about the need for enhanced law and practices and a heightened sensitivity toward survivors.

In 2018 Craig co-founded CCLISAR, a national non-profit aiming to address the gap between Canada’s seemingly progressive legal system and its effects on the social problem of sexual harm and the experiences of survivors of sexualized violence.

Congratulations to Coughlan and Craig for their valuable contributions to the legal profession that have had far-reaching national impact.