Osler remembers the Honourable J. Edgar Sexton, Q.C.

Nov 8, 2019

We are deeply saddened by the loss of the Honourable J. Edgar Sexton, Q.C., a former judge of the Federal Court of Appeal, long-time Chair of Osler, mentor, role model, trailblazer and friend. Before becoming a judge, Justice Sexton made an immeasurable and profound impact at Osler and on the practice of law. A legend to many of us at Osler, and in the legal community, Justice Sexton was (and continues to be) cited as an example of a peerless barrister who could walk into a room at the early stages of a case, and within mere minutes, absorb all details and extract the core issues to arrive at the heart of the dispute. This rare ability distinguished Justice Sexton and permeated his success in the courtroom, in the law and in life. Justice Sexton was, quite simply, an outstanding and inspiring leader and a wonderful man.

Edgar joined Osler in 1979 and was elected to the Executive Committee a few years later. He was named Chair of the firm in 1986, a position he held for 12 years before he was appointed to the bench. He also led the firm’s litigation practice while at Osler, and his positive influence, unassuming and modest nature and many renowned accomplishments will always be honoured and held in the highest regard at the firm. We will always remember his kindness. While a tireless advocate, Justice Sexton espoused civility and respect. He loved working with his team, especially junior lawyers and his Federal Court of Appeal clerks; he was a mentor to many and relished the opportunity to help others learn, going out of his way to provide feedback and advice. He saw the humour in everyday life and loved to share a good laugh.

In his 13 years of experience as a judge, Justice Sexton participated in more than 1,000 appeals in all types of federal cases on a wide variety of subjects, including intellectual property, complex business and contract disputes, civil rights matters, class action, maritime, environmental, construction, tax, labour, international trade, administrative law, statutory interpretation, telecommunications and broadcasting, and aboriginal claims.

After his retirement from the bench, Justice Sexton was involved with arbitration and mediation work with JAMS, the world’s largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services, and advised on policy matters for the Intellectual Property Department of the federal government.

The firm extends its deepest condolences to Justice Sexton’s wife Rosemary and his family and friends.

Please contact the Irvine Funeral Home, 4 James Street East, in Brockville, Ontario, regarding floral arrangements and messages of condolence.

A gathering to honour Justice Sexton’s memory will be held  on May 7, 2020 at U. of T.’s Faculty Club at 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, from 1:30 pm to 5 pm.