The Honourable Kenneth Martin Lysyk was born in Saskatchewan. He took a BA at McGill, an LL.B. at the University of Saskatchewan and a B.C.L. at Oxford University. He was a member of the Faculty of Law at UBC from 1960 to 1970 and of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto from 1970 to 1972. He served as Deputy Attorney General for the Province of Saskatchewan from 1972 to 1976, and then returned to UBC as Dean, succeeding Bertie McClean, a position he held from 1976 to 1982. Ken Lysyk is a scholar in constitutional and aboriginal law, and pioneered the etablishment of the asia law programme.
In 1983 he was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and was a member of that Court until his untimely death.
Justice Lysyk thus had careers as an academic, a public servant and a judge. He was an excellent teacher. His particular area of expertise was constitutional law, and his writings in the 1960s and early 1970s on the legal status of native peoples analyze fundamental issues in terms which are as pertinent today as they were when first written. As Dean of the Faculty, he served with a blend of fairness, compassion, tolerance and civility, which was indeed characteristic of all that he did. During his four years as Deputy Attorney General in Saskatchewan, he provided strong leadership at both the provincial and national level in the constitutional reform process, and represented Saskatchewan in the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of important cases, including the "Anti-Inflation Reference" ( 2 S.C.R. 373) and the "Patriation Reference" ( 1 S.C.R. 753). His judgments as a member of the Supreme Court of British Columbia showed not only a technical mastery of the law, but reflected his firm belief that law was not an end in itself, but should further the ends of fairness and justice.
Justice Lysyk was often called upon, or volunteered his services, to undertake a wide range of provincial, national and international activities. As well being a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, he was a Deputy Judge in both the Yukon and the North West Territories, and a member of the Court Martial Appeal Court. He rendered important service to Canada as the Chair of Alaska Highway Pipeline Inquiry, 1977. He was a member of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (and was its President in 1989-91); a member of the International Commission of Jurists, Canadian Section (and was Vice-President for B.C. from 1992 to 2002); and was very much involved in judicial education initiatives with the Commonwealth of Learning and the National Judicial Institute (of which he was the Associate Director in 1996-98).