2006-2007 Madame Annie McDonald Langstaff


MADAME ANNIE MCDONALD LANGSTAFF, B.C.L. 1914
(1887-1975) À TITRE POSTHUME

images/Photos/MedaillesMerites/AMLANGSTAFFThe 2006-2007 judicial year marked the 65th anniversary of the Act allowing the accession of women to the practice of law, passed in April 1941, as well as the admission of the first women lawyers, in January 1942.

Annie Macdonald Langstaff alone was responsible for submitting the legal question that resulted in allowing women to practice law.  The Council felt it was time to honor the memory of Ms. Langstaff by posthumously awarding her the Medal of the Bar of Montreal for her unique contribution to the cause of justice.

Here are the facts:
After obtaining her degree in law from McGill University in 1914, Annie M. Langstaff was refused permission to take the Bar examinations.  She filed for a mandamus order in Superior Court, to be allowed to do so.  In fact, she was turned town, in both Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, in two judgments rendered in 1915.

These legal remedies were followed by numerous efforts with the Québec Legislative Assembly, likewise fruitless, until the legislation was finally changed in 1941.

Throughout her professional life, Annie M. Langstaff could not be admitted to the legal profession even though she had obtained her degree with First Class Honours.

Annie Macdonald Langstaff fully embodied the courage required to lead a forward-looking battle on her own, surely the quintessence of the lawyer’s role.