Department of law
University of Toronto
Martha McCarthy is the winner of the Ontario Bar Association 2007 Award of Excellence in Family Law. Martha was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1991, winning the Silver Medal and the Family Law and Advocacy Prizes. Martha has practised family law since her call, first in a large Bay Street firm, then the largest family law specialist boutique in Canada, and now with her own firm. Martha was counsel for M. in M. v. H. which after eight years and a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada resulted in widespread amendments to include same-sex couples as spouses in both federal and provincial legislation. In 2000, she commenced the equal marriage case Halpern, which resulted in the first decision in the country and internationally calling for immediate same-sex marriage, effective June 10, 2003. Martha later acted for the Hendricks couple in Quebec, and the Dunbar couple in the Yukon in cases that opened up equal marriage in those provinces as well. She was counsel to the Ontario and Quebec couples on the Supreme Court Marriage Reference and, just to complete the circle, was counsel to the applicant in the first same-sex divorce in Canada. In 2006, Martha acted for lesbian families who won the right to immediately register both mothers as their children's parents, and intervened on behalf of these families in AA v. BB v. CC, a case achieving legal recognition for a three parent family.
Canadian Constitutional Law Charter of Rights Comparative Constitutional Law Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law Law and Religion