We honour today a distinguished graduate of the University of Manitoba who, after attaining eminence as a leader to the Bar and rendering important voluntary service to education and to the community, has served with distinction in three judicial offices and now, as Chief Justice of Manitoba and a member of the Canadian Judicial Council, is nationally recognized as a leader in the response of the Courts to the varied challenges and circumstances of our times.
Richard Jamieson Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from this University in 1959. In 1963 he graduated in Law and was called to the Bar. He practised as a counsel until his appointment to the Bench and was made Queen's Counsel in 1976. In 1978 he served on the Tritschler Commission examining hydro-electric development in Manitoba. He was a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba and its President in 1983-1984.
A member of the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation for many years, and its president from 1987 to 1989, he later served as a member of the Board of the Canadian Heart Foundation. He has been a member of the Westminster Church Foundation board and is a member and officer of the board of the Winnipeg Foundation. While at the Bar, he worked extensively with Legal Aid Manitoba and, as Chief Justice, he has given continuing encouragement to pro bono professional service.
He has made a significant contribution to legal education as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law and participant in many professional development programmes. He has held the Milvain visiting professorship in advocacy in the University of Calgary and has participated in programmes to assist the judiciary and development of the rule of law in Ethiopia and in Ukraine.
Richard Scott was appointed to the Court of Queens Bench in Manitoba in 1985 and, only a few months later, made its Associate Chief Justice. In 1990, he was appointed Chief Justice of Manitoba, the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal.
In addition to fulfilling his many responsibilities in Manitoba, the Chief Justice has made special contribution to the work of the Canadian Judicial Council through its committees on judicial independence and conduct. Their reports, grounded in thorough research and extensive consultations, have earned respectful attention abroad as well as in Canada.
Richard Scott and his wife Mary, herself a distinguished graduate of the University with degrees in Arts, Social Work and Natural Resource Management, have three daughters.
In 1996, Chief Justice Scott received the Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association.
It was once said, in recollection of a great judge, Chancellor Kent, that a democratic society needs, in its judiciary, to command its best talent for the performance of its highest function.
Today, we are privileged to recognize just such a public servant.