Prof. David N. Weisstub to be honoured with LLD

Posted: 09/20/2016

Photo of Prof. David N. Weisstub

Prof. David N. Weisstub [Photo credit: IALMH/Studio Photo Raphael]

The Law Society will recognize Professor David N. Weisstub with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) at the Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto on September 23.

Prof. Weisstub is an international, distinguished leader in forensic psychiatry and human rights. He is recognized as a true pioneer in the development of law and mental health.

Raised in Thunder Bay, Weisstub is a graduate of Yale Law School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Yale Law School and, in 1969, introduced a course at Yale College entitled “Law in Philosophy and Literature”.

He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1972.

Weisstub was a professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School for almost two decades. There, he became lifelong friends with two Osgoode colleagues: Justice Allen Linden and the late Martin Teplitsky.

In 1993, he was invited by the University of Montreal, Faculty of Medicine, to become the Philippe Pinel Professor of Legal Psychiatry and Biomedical Ethics ­— a position he still holds.

Weisstub is the honorary life president of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH), which is “founded on the belief that issues arising from the interaction of law and mental health can be best addressed through multidisciplinary and cross-national approaches, drawing on law, the health professions, the social sciences, and the humanities.”

He is the founding editor and continues as the editor-in-chief of the IALMH’s official publication, the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. The journal “explores the fundamental goals of both the legal and psychiatric systems and the social implications of their interaction…and is intended to provide a multi-disciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas and information among professionals concerned with the interface of law and psychiatry.” During the founding of the journal, French philosopher and social thinker Michel Foucault contributed an original article to the first issue. He is also the co-president of the International Academy of Medical Ethics and Public Health (IAMEPH), which is located at Université René Descartes Paris V (Sorbonne Paris Cité).

Weisstub has acted as a consultant on mental health legislation and forensic reforms to many governments and his work has had a profound impact on public policy and mental health legislation worldwide. He chaired two enquiries for the Ontario government, one on Mental Competency, which resulted in a major publication and influenced policy on legislation in Canada and elsewhere, and a second enquiry on Research Ethics with Vulnerable Populations.

A recipient of many awards over his distinguished career, Weisstub has been bestowed the French Legion of Honor and knighted in The Order of the Dutch Lion, to name just a few. He has also been honoured for his teaching, research, and work in law reform from, among others, the University of Paris and the University of Siena. He holds honorary doctorates from Sigmund Freud University in Vienna and the University of Liège.

A published creative writer, Weisstub’s second book of poetry, entitled The Four Corners, was recently published by Somondoco Press. His previous collection, Heaven, Take My Hand, was published by McClelland & Stewart.