Mr. Hamilton grew up in Victoria, BC and graduated from Oak Bay High School in 1962. He has a BA from the University of Victoria, an LLB from the University of British Columbia, and an LLM from the University of London (London School of Economics). He was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 1973, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009.
Mr. Hamilton was, between 1990 and his retirement in 2012, a sole practitioner. He is a former director of research and planning for the Law Society of British Columbia and for the Legal Aid Society of British Columbia. For three years he was the director of an experimental public defender program in the Greater Vancouver area.
Mr. Hamilton taught criminal law, advanced criminal procedure and trial advocacy courses as an adjunct professor at the law school at UBC, participated in numerous continuing legal education programs and published articles on a variety of legal topics in legal journals and in the Vancouver Sun.
He is the author of three legal reference texts: Impaired Driving and Breathalyzer Law, Judicial Interim Release and Self-Governing Professions.
Mr. Hamilton served as commission counsel, research director or policy counsel on thirteen independent commissions on inquiry, examining such diverse issues as prosecutorial discretion, electoral boundaries, policing, prison transfers, child protection, workers’ compensation, licensed gaming, organized crime, conducted energy weapons (TASERs), and Sockeye salmon. Mr. Hamilton did legal research and factum-drafting for criminal appeals to the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. He was counsel on one of the defence teams in the Air India criminal trial.
Mr. Hamilton’s practice of law included providing consulting services to self-governing professions across Canada. He has drafted a new Legal Profession Act, a new set of Law Society Rules, a new Professional Conduct Handbook, a protocol for the inter-provincial and international practice of law and a protocol under the North American Free Trade Agreement for the mobility of lawyers between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Mr. Hamilton is married, with two grown children. He and his wife Sally divide their time between Vancouver and Gabriola Island. He enjoys sculpting, painting, cycling, hiking, building, and traveling. His volunteer activities have included Vancouver General Hospital’s hospice program, serving on UNICEF BC’s advisory board, President of the BC Insight Meditation Society, and Director of SwaziKids Society and the Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society.
Mr. Hamilton’s interest in art emerged later in life. Beginning in his mid-50s, he took classes for two years in clay sculpting with Suzy Birstein, then three years of instruction in stone sculpting with Alberto Replanski. He was accepted into the Studio Art Program at Capilano College for three years, directed by George Rammell. He began to explore painting in 2017, studying with Efren Gonzalez in Ajijic, Mexico and Dene Croft in North Vancouver.