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Ian Binnie C.C., K.C.


Ian is a litigator,* but no ordinary litigator. He is one of Canada’s most respected advocates, boasting over three decades of experience in the commercial litigation and intellectual property bar. He is also a former judge§, and serving for nearly 14 years as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, an extraordinary one at that. Though he retired from the bench in 2011 as "arguably the country's premier judge", the Honourable Ian Binnie continues to positively influence the outcomes of some of the largest cases in Canada with his sage wisdom and advice. He is now a sought-after mediator and arbitrator in his current practice. He also advises lawyers in the firm, relying on his wealth of expertise and insight that is invaluable to his colleagues. .



Ian Binnie , C.C., K.C.

is Of Counsel to Lenczner Slaght.

One of Canada's most respected arbitrators and advocates, the Honourable Ian Binnie served for nearly 14 years as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. When he retired in 2011 he was described by The Globe and Mail as "arguably the country's premier judge" and by La Presse as "peut-être le juge le plus influent au Canada dans la dernière décennie."

During his time on the country's top court (as only the fourth modern Justice appointed directly from the bar) Ian authored more than 170 opinions, including in landmark cases involving corporate and commercial disputes, issues of contractual interpretation and torts, patent interpretation and validity, aboriginal rights, copyright and protection of trade-marks, media law, punitive damages, expert evidence and many other aspects of constitutional, criminal and administrative law.

In his role, Ian shares strategic and practical advice, as well as his dispute resolution expertise, with his colleagues and the firm's clients. In doing so he draws not only on his judicial insights, but also his wealth of courtroom experience as one of Canada's top litigators. Over the course of three decades, he argued cases in most of the common law provinces and appeared regularly before the Supreme Court on a range of constitutional, civil and criminal matters.

Throughout his career as a litigator, Ian has often taken on public service roles as well. In the early 1980s he served for four years as Canada's Associate Deputy Minister of Justice. He was later appointed Special Parliamentary Counsel to the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on the Meech Lake Accord. An elected member of the International Commission of Jurists, he has appeared before the International Court of Justice and various international tribunals in governmental litigation matters, and has acted as Canadian representative in high-profile disputes involving France and the U.S.

  • International Commission of Jurists (Geneva) - Commissioner

  • United Nations Internal Justice Council - Chair

  • American College of Trial Lawyers - Fellow

  • Commercial Bar Association (U.K.)

  • Middle Temple Inns of Court (U.K.) - Member

  • Canadian Council on International Law

  • Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice

  • Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

  • The Advocates' Society - Advisory Group Member of the Modern Advocacy Task Force

  • Canadian Bar Association

  • Ontario Bar Association

  • L'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario

  • The Philippe Kirsch Institute - Faculty

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  • Best Lawyers in Canada (2017-2024)

    Administrative & Public Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Appellate Practice, Corporate & Commercial Litigation, Defamation & Media, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration

  • Best Lawyers in Canada (2020)

    Toronto "Lawyer of the Year" in Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Best Lawyers in Canada (2022)

    Toronto "Lawyer of the Year" in Administrative & Public Law

  • Best Lawyers in Canada (2024)

    Toronto "Lawyer of the Year" in Administrative & Public Law

  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (2014-2024)

    Commercial Arbitration, Litigation - Corporate Commercial, Litigation - Defamation & Media, Litigation - Intellectual Property, Litigation - Regulatory & Public Law, Professional Liability, Litigation - Public Law (2023)

  • Chambers Canada (2016-2024)

    Dispute Resolution: Most in Demand Arbitrators (Nationwide – Canada)

  • Chambers Canada Lifetime Achievement Award (2018)

  • Chambers Global (2017-2024)

    Dispute Resolution: Most In Demand Arbitrators (Canada); Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (Canada) (2017)

  • Companion of the Order of Canada (2012)

  • Honourary Colonel, 426 Squadron (Trenton) (2002-2005)

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