Richard R. Sugden, QC to receive 2004 Law Society Award

August 18, 2004

Richard R. Sugden, QC will receive the Law Society Award in 2004, in recognition by the Benchers of his exemplary service over 30 years at the bar. The Law Society Award is given every two years to honour the lifetime contributions of the truly exceptional within the profession and the legal community, based on integrity, professional achievements, service and law reform.

The Award presentation will be made on November 17 in Vancouver at the Bench & Bar Dinner, an event co-sponsored by the Law Society and the BC Branch of the CBA.

Mr. Sugden was called to the bar in 1973. He practised law in Vancouver with Braidwood & Company until 1988, and with Sugden, McFee & Roos until his recent retirement.

In its recommendation to the Benchers, the Law Society Award Selection Committee noted that Mr. Sugden is universally regarded as pre-eminent counsel at all levels of court and as "a model of thoughtful integrity." As noted by lawyers supporting his nomination:

"… the leading cases in which Rick acted as counsel speak of his commitment to and success at helping to shape our common law for the betterment of all."

"Through personal example, Rick has positively influenced the way litigation is practised in British Columbia. Dignity, grace and respect for the individual and the process are ever-present qualities alongside a keen and energetic effort to advance or protect his client’s interests. The public has been well served by the level of civility practised by Rick and those he has influenced."

The Committee remarked on Mr. Sugden’s generosity as a volunteer, reflected in his service to the Lawyers Assistance Program, the Inns of Court, the UBC Trial Advocacy program, the Judicial Appointments Committee, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Trial Lawyers Association.

Also important has been Mr. Sugden’s exceptional service as an advocate for other lawyers in personal crisis, consistently on a pro bono basis — in particular his help to lawyers who have faced professional discipline arising in combination with marital breakdown, substance abuse or other emotional trauma. In letters supporting his nomination, he was described as the "lawyer’s lawyer" who has been widely regarded as the source for advice on all manner of professional and ethical issues.

The esteem in which he is regarded was summed up by one lawyer this way:

His has been a career that any young lawyer would be wise to use as a model for what the profession expects of its top performers … Mr. Sugden has been an ornament to the profession.

The Law Society Award is a bronze statue of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, cast by the late Pender Island sculptor Ralph Sketch.

Past recipients of the Award are Dean Emeritus George F. Curtis, QC (1986), Oscar F. Orr, MBE, OBC, QC (1988), Chief Justice J.O. Wilson (posthumously, in 1992), Mr. Justice Peter Seaton (posthumously, in 1994), Alfred Watts, QC (1996), Martin Taylor, QC (1998), E.N. (Ted) Hughes, QC (2000) and Mr. Justice Ken Meredith (2002).

The 2004 Bench & Bar Dinner

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Reception – 5:45 p.m. (cash bar)
Dinner – 6:30 p.m. (wine included)

Pan Pacific Hotel
Crystal Pavilion
999 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC

Business attire

Tickets: $75.00 a person

This year’s Bench & Bar Dinner comes to the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, offering members of the legal profession and the judiciary a unique opportunity to enjoy an evening of good company and conversation.

The Dinner will honour both Richard R. Sugden, QC (2004 recipient of the Law Society Award) and the recipient of the CBA's Georges A. Goyer, QC Memorial Award for Distinguished Service, who will be announced shortly.

Please join the Benchers of the Law Society and the members of the CBA Executive and Provincial Council to share in the tradition of the Bench & Bar Dinner and to pay homage to those who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of justice in British Columbia.

Please visit the Law Society website at to download a ticket order form that can be returned by mail or fax to the BCCBA office. For more information on the Dinner, please contact Andrew Mugridge of the BCCBA at 604 687-3404, ext 306.