Julian Falconer is a husband and father. With his wife and colleague Elisabeth, he has two boys, Ben who is 16 years old and Justin who is 11. He received his law degree from the University of Alberta and also holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto.
Julian is a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. A major component of Julian’s practice has involved advocacy in human rights and public interest litigation. In addition to various corporate interests, Julian has acted as counsel for numerous community service organizations including Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (First Nations government for Northern Ontario), the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted and Urban Alliance on Race Relations. As Counsel for ALST, Julian and his team played a key role in the Ipperwash Inquiry Into the Death of Dudley George. Julian's more prominent individual clients have included Maher Arar, who made Canadian legal history in receiving the largest human rights settlement allotted to an individual plaintiff; the family of Ashley Smith, the 19 year who died in custody at Grand Valley Federal Penitentiary; and Adam Nobody and the “Free Press Four” in relation to their unlawful beatings and arrests during the G20 summit in Toronto. Julian has also represented lawyers, police officers and judicial officers.
At the appeal level, Julian's successful representation of the family of Manish Odhavji (fatally shot in the back by police) resulted in the leading Supreme Court decision on the right of citizens to sue public officials for corrupt conduct. Julian and his team have represented countless intervenors in human rights cases before the Court of Appeal including the Dee Brown case which led to the recognition for the first time of racial profiling as a legitimate and valid defence for minority communities. Julian and his team are currently Counsel for two families on the Schaeffer Minty case which involves challenging controversial practices following police shootings including officers keeping multiple sets of notes, lawyers who act for both the subject and witness officers and lawyers who assist in the preparation of police notes. In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal for Ontario determined once and for all that police officers are prohibited from having lawyers assist them in the preparation of their notes. The case is now in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Julian and his team are also counsel for First Nations (Nishnawbe Aski Nation) before the Iacobucci Inquiry on the issue of exclusion of Aboriginal communities from jury rolls in Ontario. Most recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (arising out of the Residential Schools Settlement) retained Julian to commence proceedings to address the Federal Government's failures to meet its documentary production obligations to the Commission.
Following the shooting death of Toronto high school student Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys School in May 2007, Julian was appointed to chair an independent inquiry into the safety of students across the Toronto school system. The School Safety Panel's work resulted in a five volume report entitled “The Road to Health”.
In addition to extensive writings on issues of race and civil liberties, Julian has also co-authored a book on Coroners Inquests in Ontario. Julian has been invited to speak at hundreds of events across the country, including keynote presentations for the Empire Club of Canada, the University of Toronto’s Convocation proceedings, the Rotary Club of Canada and Literature for Life. His public interest work has been recognized by awards from the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Pride News Magazine, the Planet Africa Group, Tropicana Community Services, the Black Law Students Association of Canada, the Canadian Muslim Network and Canadian Lawyer who named Julian as one of Canada's Top 25 most influential lawyers.
Outside of the law, Julian makes time for family, flying (licensed pilot), golfing and skiing.
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Elisabeth Widner is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 1989. She practiced criminal law at the firm of Ruby and Edwardh before joining Falconer Charney LLP in 1995 and now practices in the areas of civil, constitutional and criminal law. She has appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario on criminal and civil matters. She was the previous co-president of AIDWYC (Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted). Elisabeth is a member of the AJEFO (Association des Juristes d’expression Française de l’Ontario) and sits on the Legal Aid of Ontario French language services advisory committee.
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Julian Roy is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1995, and practiced criminal law exclusively before joining Falconer Charney LLP in 1999. Since joining the firm, Julian has maintained a diverse litigation practice in the areas of civil, constitutional and criminal law. He has appeared at all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has represented families and public interest interveners at numerous Coroners Inquests. Julian acted as co-counsel to Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto before the Ipperwash Inquiry, and was part of the legal team on Maher Arar’s lawsuit against the Canadian Government.
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Sunil Mathai is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and was called to the Ontario bar in 2004. He practiced First Nation and commercial litigation at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP before joining Falconer Charney LLP in 2005. Sunil has gained an expertise in police law as it relates to civil litigation and administrative disciplinary hearings. In his practice, Sunil regularly appears before all levels of court including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Federal Court of Appeal and Ontario Court of Appeal. He appeared as counsel for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted at the Supreme Court of Canada in the leading case on negligent police investigation, Hill v. Hamilton Wentworth Police. Sunil also acted as co-counsel to Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto before the Ipperwash Inquiry, and was part of the legal team on Maher Arar’s lawsuit against the Canadian Government.
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Asha James is a graduate of the University of Windsor Law School where she earned an American (JD) and Canadian (LLB) law degrees. She recently completed her articles with Falconer Charney LLP and was called to the bar of Ontario in June of 2009. During her articles Asha assisted senior litigators in a number of complex cases and appeared before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board on behalf of a client. Since being called to the bar of Ontario in June of 2009, Asha has acted on a number of police misconduct hearings and has appeared before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the Superior Court of Justice.
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Meaghan Daniel is a graduate of Robson Hall law school at the University of Manitoba. In her articling year, she clerked at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. While at the Superior Court, Meaghan worked closely with the Justices, gaining experience with both practice and substantive legal issues through daily exposure to the court process, litigation, and advocacy. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2009 and following her call joined Klippensteins, Barristers and Solicitors, as an associate. At Klippensteins, Meaghan practiced civil litigation in the public interest, concentrating on Aboriginal, employment and human rights law. Since joining Falconer Charney LLP in 2011, she hopes to continue her interest in public interest litigation.
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In addition to our experienced group of lawyers, the Falconer team is comprised of law clerks, assistants and general support staff all of whom work closely with our lawyers. Both our support staff and our legal professionals work together in a collaborative environment that fosters passion for our client’s causes and pride in achieving their objectives. Effective client service, team orientation and value-added performance are as much a part of the culture of our support staff as they are for the lawyers in our office.
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