Antonio Lamer

5 Min Read

Antonio Lamer’s distinguished legal career and tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada made him one of the most influential jurists in the nation’s history. But before rising to the pinnacle of the Canadian judiciary, Lamer embarked on an educational journey that prepared him for his eminent role in shaping the law. Examining Lamer’s academic background provides insight into the experiences and training that molded one of Canada’s foremost legal minds.

Quick Facts About Antonio Lamer

  • Born on July 8, 1933 in Montreal, Quebec
  • Served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1950-1960
  • Graduated from the University of Montreal law school in 1956
  • Called to the Bar of Quebec in 1957
  • Appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1980
  • Became Chief Justice in 1990
  • Retired from the Supreme Court in 1999
  • Died on November 24, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario

Who Was Antonio Lamer?

Antonio Lamer was a distinguished Canadian jurist who served on the Supreme Court of Canada for almost 20 years, including 9 years as Chief Justice. Born in Montreal in 1933, Lamer joined the Canadian Armed Forces after graduating from high school, serving from 1950-1960. After being discharged, Lamer attended the University of Montreal law school, receiving his law degree in 1956. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1957 and practiced law in Montreal over the next decade.

In 1969, Lamer was appointed as a judge on the Quebec Superior Court. He served on the court for 9 years before being elevated to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1978. Lamer’s reputation as an intelligent, principled judge led then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to appoint him to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1980 at the relatively young age of 47. Lamer served as a Supreme Court Justice for 19 years, including 9 years as Chief Justice from 1990-1999. He retired in 1999 and passed away in Ottawa in 2007.

Where Did Antonio Lamer Go To College?

The foundation of Antonio Lamer’s education was laid at a Catholic high school in his native Montreal. After graduating, Lamer enrolled in the law program at the University of Montreal in 1953. The University of Montreal, founded in 1878, is one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious universities. Lamer studied law there for 3 years, receiving his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1956.

Prior to attending the University of Montreal, Lamer began his post-secondary studies at a local Catholic college in Montreal called Collège de Saint-Laurent. He studied there from 1951-1953 before transferring to the larger University of Montreal campus to complete his law degree. Beginning at a small college helped ease Lamer’s transition to university studies after his time in the military.

Lamer’s Supreme Court Tenure and Jurisprudence

Lamer’s tenure on the Supreme Court left an indelible impact on Canadian constitutional law and Charter rights. Some of his most significant rulings include…

Lamer on Aboriginal Rights

In the Van der Peet case, Lamer developed a test for identifying Aboriginal rights protected under the Constitution…

Lamer on Constitutional Interpretation

In the Quebec Secession Reference, Lamer outlined core constitutional principles including federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities…

Follow Antonio Lamer on Social Media

As Lamer served prior to the digital age, he did not have public social media accounts during his lifetime. However, his legacy lives on through various accounts:


Where was Antonio Lamer born?

Antonio Lamer was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 8, 1933.

What university did Lamer attend for law school?

Lamer attended the University of Montreal for his law degree, graduating in 1956.

How long was Lamer on the Supreme Court of Canada?

Lamer served on the Supreme Court of Canada for 19 years total, from 1980-1999.

What position did Lamer hold on the Supreme Court?

Lamer was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990. He served in that role until his retirement in 1999.

Why is Lamer considered an influential Canadian jurist?

Lamer made significant rulings on Aboriginal rights, constitutional interpretation, and Charter rights during his tenure. His jurisprudence shaped Canadian law for decades.