Julian Falconer holds degrees from the University of Alberta, McGill University, and the University of Toronto in addition to an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Guelph-Humber. He is a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario and an author, writing extensively on issues of race and civil liberties, and co-authoring the book, the “Annotated Coroners Act”. In the true tradition of a Barrister, Julian Falconer’s practice takes him to civil, administrative, and criminal courts at both trial and appellate levels, including the Supreme Court. He is bilingual and has argued cases in both English and French.
More recently, with the firm’s expansion from Southern Ontario into the North, his work has expanded to focus on Indigenous-side representation on matters including child welfare, education, equitable service provision, and community governance, always focusing on the unique remedies required for reconciliation. Specifically, this work has included representation of the two largest First Nations police forces in negotiation of legislated standards of policing, representation on the Inquest into the deaths of Seven Youth in Thunder Bay, and as Counsel for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada over a five-year period in respect of document collection litigation.
Julian’s client base spans the range of individuals and institutions which have recently included Nishnawbe Aski Nation (First Nations political territorial organization for Northern Ontario), Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, and several First Nations Police Services, as outlined above.
Julian has been counsel on matters related to prisoner rights, police accountability, and human rights. Specifically, this work has included the representation of Maher Arar, who made Canadian legal history in receiving the largest human rights settlement allotted to an individual plaintiff; the family of Ashley Smith, the 19-year-old who died in custody at Grand Valley Federal Penitentiary; and Adam Nobody and the “Free Press Four” in relation to their unlawful beatings and arrests during the G20 summit in Toronto.
Julian has represented numerous organizational interests (First Nations and African Canadian) at the Commission of Inquiry level, including the Ipperwash Inquiry and the Goudge Inquiry into child pathologist, Dr. Charles Smith.
Julian is also a pilot with over 2800 hours in the air. With the addition of “Falconair”, the firm not only represents individual First Nations in the remote North, but also provides a new level of access to justice by flying to them, visiting and engaging in the communities, and building new relationships.
Julian Falconer on Libel Law Reform The Agenda with Steve Paikin
Julian Falconer in the News
Lawyer Julian Falconer has built a career representing families of people killed by police or in custody Toronto Star, December 19, 2013
Julian Falconer named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada Canadian Lawyer, August, 2010
Ontario’s wind farm approval process faces constitutional challenge Financial Post, November 17, 2014
Awards and Recognition
Honored by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) for his Distinguished Public Service
University of Guelph-Humber conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Julian Falconer at Convocation ceremonies, in recognition of his work in social justice. June 16, 2014
The Black Business Professionals Association (BBPA) named Julian Falconer a recipient of the Distinguished Men of Honour Award. March 27, 2012
Julian Falconer received the 2011 Community Builder Award from Tropicana Community Services at the 2011 Caribbean Ball. June 4, 2011
Julian Falconer was honoured by The University of Toronto’s University Advancement division at the Black History Month Luncheon on February 25, 2011 for his accomplishments in law and human rights.
Honored by Planet Africa Group with the prestigious Marcus Garvey Award
Selected as one of University of Toronto’s 100 most notable graduates of the twentieth century
Pride Magazine’s African-Canadian Achievement Award
The Vision of Justice Award (Black Law Students Association-Canada)
Urban Alliance Race-Relations Medal
Recognized in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2, Black Success and Black Excellence in Canada, A Contemporary Directory, D.P. Williams & Associates 2007
Civil Liability of Police Services to Members of Public , prepared for Police Law Conference, 2010
Civil Remedies for Internal Disputes, prepared for Police Law Conference, 2010
Annotated Coroners Act, 2008/2009, Julian N. Falconer and Peter Pliszka, Butterworths, Updated 2008.
The five W’s of litigating issues of race, prepared for Crown Liability Conference, 2008.
State Misconduct: A Continuum of Accountability, Honoring Social Justice, 2008
The Anti-Terrorist Act and the Arar Finding-Democracy protected or Democracy Eroded, National Journal of Constitutional Law, 2006-2007
Hufsky v. The Queen and Leave in Ladouceur: What’s Left?, The Criminal Law Quarterly, Volume 30, Number 4, September 1988, Canada Law Book
The Alert Demand and the Right to Counsel: “The Problem With Talbourdet”, The Criminal Law Quarterly, Volume 28, Number 3, June 1986, Canada Law Book Inc.
The Justice System: Is it Serving or Failing Minorities?, Current Readings in Race Relations, Volume 8, No. 2, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Litigating Race in the Criminal Courts, Boyle, Christine et al, The Law of Evidence, Fact Finding, Fairness, and Advocacy, Edmond Montgomery Publications Limited, Toronto, Canada
The Criminal Law Quarterly, Volume 30, Number 4, September 1988, Canada Law Book, “Hufsky v. The Queen and Leave in Ladouceur: What’s Left?”
The Criminal Law Quarterly, Volume 28, Number 3, June 1986, Canada Law Book Inc., The Alert Demand and the Right to Counsel: “The Problem With Talbourdet”
Currents, Readings in Race Relations, Volume 8, No. 2, The Justice System: Is it Serving or Failing Minorities?, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Boyle, Christine et al, The Law of Evidence, Fact Finding, Fairness, and Advocacy, “Litigating Race in the Criminal Courts” Edmond Montgomery Publications Limited, Toronto, Canada
Julian has been invited to address a wide variety of participants in the justice system. The following are some of the organizations he has addressed:
University of Alberta, Faculty of Law
Dalhousie University, Faculty of Law
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
University of Windsor, Faculty of Law
York University, Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Professional Development Program, LLM
The Advocates’ Society Lecture Series
American Bar Association
Black Law Students’ Association
The Canadian Institute
Canadian Police Executive Training
Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement
Continuing Legal Education Program (Osgoode Hall)
Criminal Lawyers’ Association
Federal Department of Justice – Annual Prosecution Seminar
The Jane Finch Concerned Citizens Organization
Law Commission of Canada
Law Society of Upper Canada
Ontario Bar Association
Ontario Conference of Judges – Ontario Court of Justice
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Parkdale Community Legal Services
The Empire Club
The Police Association of Ontario
Ryerson Polytenic University – Social Sciences
Speakers Series for the Court of Appeal Law Clerks
Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators
Toronto Police Service (Sex Crimes Unit)
Toronto School Administrators Association
Committees (Past and Present)
Co-chair, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee
Vice-Chair, Task Force addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees.
Legal Aid Ontario, Criminal Law Advisory Committee
Co-Chair (with Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Police Service), Saving Lives Implementation Group
Co-Chair, The Conference on Alternatives to the Use of Lethal Force by Police
Co-Chair, CBAO, Constitutional and Civil Liberties Section
Director’s Resource Committee for the Special Investigations Unit
What people are saying about Julian Falconer:
“I have known Julian for about 20 years. I have always known him to be supportive of all communities and of issues dealing with equity and fairness. He is committed and is also a fearless champion for the voiceless.”
-Sandy Thomas, Former President of CABL; Counsel, Public Prosecution Service of Canada
“As a Past President of the Indigenous Bar Association and a legal practitioner for the last seventeen years, I have experienced firsthand Julian’s style of advocacy in respect of Indigenous justice issues. Julian has been at the forefront on key Aboriginal justice issues both provincially and nationally including the Iacobucci Inquiry into Justice Issues in the North and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission litigation regarding residential school survivors.”
-Dianne Corbiere, Managing Partner, Nahwegahbow, Corbiere; LSUC Bencher; Past President of the Indigenous Bar Association
“Mr. Falconer is one of the country’s top constitutional and human rights lawyers. He represented the Smith family in a lawsuit into the death of Ashley Smith in custody. He worked on the Ipperwash Inquiry. He represented Maher Arar in a suit against the federal government over his rendition and torture in Syria. The list goes on. Point is, Mr. Falconer takes a special interest in holding government to account.”
-Financial Post, November 17, 2014
“Colleagues and clients describe Falconer as a steadfast champion of the public interest, a voice for the powerless, a changemaker.”
-Toronto Star, December 19, 2013