The Virtues of Judging

In his “Essays—of Judicature (1612),” Sir Francis Bacon—the English philosopher, statesman, writer and founder of modern Jurisprudence— wrote:

Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.”

After reading the following excerpt from today’s judgment in MacGregor v. Potts, 2012 ONCA 226 (Ont. C.A.), one cannot deny that that The Honourable Justice James C. MacPherson, of the Court of Appeal of Ontario possesses all of these judicial qualities:

[3] The consequences of a medical misfortune for the person injured and often their families can be devastating and life-altering. The same can be true for the medical professional who may have caused the injury. In the medical area, this shared result is very painful because the doctors, nurses and hospitals involved are passionately dedicated to preserving life and health.

[4] The doctor defendant here is a fine professional man who has devoted his life to the care of mothers and children. The MacGregor family must endure and respond forever to Matthew’s injuries and precarious situation. In this sad context, a judge can – and I do – express my genuine sympathy to the MacGregor family and to Dr. Potts.

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