ULCC to Remember Sir James Aikins at 100th Anniversary

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) will honour Sir James Aikins, at its 100th anniversary conference in Québec City.

Commencing on August 12, 2018, the ULCC is hosting its 100th annual conference. The celebratory assembly will include mention of the organization’s first president, Sir James Albert Manning Aikins (1851-1929), who served a five-year term from 1918-1923, and remained honorary president until 1928. Sir Aikins was a prominent lawyer, politician, lieutenant governor, and the original “Aikins” of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP – predecessor firm to MLT Aikins – in Winnipeg.

About Sir James Aikins

After his call to the Ontario bar in 1878, Sir Aikins moved to Winnipeg, where his father and brother had already established successful businesses in mortgage loans and real estate. Sir Aikins was called to the Manitoba bar in February 1879, and established his own law firm, which was the predecessor of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson shortly thereafter.

Sir Aikins formed the Manitoba Bar Association in 1911, serving as its first president. He was instrumental in establishing the Canadian Bar Association in 1915, acting as president until 1927, staying on as an honorary president for the remaining years of his life.

Sir Aikins was an avid and well-respected member of the Manitoba community, with a long-standing commitment to education. In 1885, he helped to establish Wesley College at the University of Manitoba, serving on the board of directors from 1888-1908 and acting as honorary treasurer until 1915. In 1901 he was appointed to form an agricultural college within Manitoba and was named chairman of the royal commission on the University of Manitoba in 1907.

In 1912, he was named Canada’s representative at the Second International Congress on Moral Education. After his death, his Assiniboine home was donated to the United Church of Canada at his request, specifying it be used as a school for girls (later named Balmoral Hall School).

About the ULCC

The ULCC was formed to “harmonize the laws of the provinces and territories of Canada, and where appropriate the federal laws as well. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada also makes recommendations for changes to federal criminal legislation based on identified deficiencies, defects or gaps in the existing law, or based on problems created by judicial interpretation of existing law.”

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada operates in three sections: the Criminal Section, the Civil Section and the Drafting Section. Its work is done by delegates, sometimes called commissioners, appointed by the member governments. The Conference meets annually in August in each member jurisdiction in turn.

The Criminal Section unites lawyers from federal, provincial and territorial governments with defense counsel and judges to consider proposals to amend criminal laws, which are mainly under federal authority in Canada. The Civil Section assembles government policy lawyers and analysts, private lawyers and law reformers to consider areas in which provincial and territorial laws would benefit from harmonization. The Drafting Section of the ULCC deals with drafting matters that are referred to it by the Civil or Criminal Sections.