Janine Benedet

Class of 1992-1993

Janine Benedet joined UBC as an Associate Professor in 2005. This appointment represented a return not only to her alma mater but also to the city that she has always considered home. Her first stop after her L.L.B. graduation was a clerkship with fellow UBC alumnus Justice Frank Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada. That was followed by graduate studies – leading to both an LL.M. and an S.J.D. – at the University of Michigan, where she also did some teaching as a Visiting Faculty Fellow. She practiced labour law in Toronto from 1997 to 1999, and was a member of faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School from 1999-2005. She is a member of the bar in both Ontario and British Columbia.

Professor Benedet is associate professor and director of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies (CFLS). She teaches in the areas of criminal law, labour law, and professional responsibility, and her research interests include the legal treatment of sexual violence against women, including prostitution, pornography and sexual assault. Her current research focuses on the use of mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offences against youth, as well as the criminal law’s treatment of capacity and voluntariness to consent to sexual contact.  She was co-counsel pro bono to the Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution at the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Bedford v Canada (AG).

Professor Janine Benedet has been awarded the CBA BC 2014 Equality and Diversity Award. Each year, the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association proudly presents this award to celebrate the accomplishments of a lawyer who has succeeded in advancing equality within BC and the legal profession. The award recognizes the recipient’s significant contributions to improving the status of women, people with disabilities, people of colour, aboriginal peoples, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or two spirited people, or people who are members of historically marginalized communities.

“I am extremely grateful to have been selected for this award,” Benedet said. “I would especially like to thank those who nominated me: Joost Blom QC, Mary Ainslie QC, and Gil MacKinnon QC. I'm honoured to have three such esteemed members of the profession write on my behalf.  I also think that the award honours the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies and its role in advancing research on sex equality in the law.”

Benedet’s influence goes far beyond BC – her victim-centred research into the federal sex offender registry was recently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2014 SCC 31.