In Memory of Professor Simon Fodden
“Enjoy, contribute, learn, teach…”
– Professor Simon Fodden, in Slaw, July 2005
It is a privilege to learn the law. To have a legal education is to inherit a robust intellectual tradition that’s been shaped and molded by academics, lawyers and judges for hundreds of years. This privilege is compounded by the opportunity law presents to its students to mold the tradition to respond to the unique needs of our generation. Professor Simon Fodden was an exemplar of teaching and adapting law for future generations. TheCourt.ca community was saddened to hear of his passing on February 10th.
To say that Professor Fodden enhanced the Canadian legal tradition would be to understate his indelible impact on our school, its students and the Canadian lawyering community more broadly. Professor Fodden taught property and family law at Osgoode Hall Law School for 30 years, serving as Associate Dean and founding the Parkdale legal clinic and Osgoode’s family law intensive. He also published on Family Law and founded the grassroots co-operative legal blog Slaw.ca. Most significantly for the staff at TheCourt.ca, Professor Fodden founded our blog, and in doing so, he provided a platform for Osgoode students to comment on and analyse Supreme Court decisions. In creating TheCourt.ca, Professor Fodden recognized blogging’s potential for democratizing legal commentary and students’ ability to provide insightful analysis to the legal community.
Professor Fodden saw the possibility in legal virtual dialogue and established platforms for these conversations. Blogging not only gives voice to members of the legal community who may not be otherwise be heard, but it also creates a space for an exchange of ideas that transcend institutional walls and provincial borders. Not only that, but platforms like TheCourt.ca over time become accessible libraries of legal commentary for a diverse audience. Professor Fodden recognized the value of student contribution to the legal blogosphere and created opportunities for Osgoode students to apply their legal education in meaningful ways.
If learning law is a privilege, then to write about law is an honour. Although many of us at TheCourt.ca did not have the pleasure of knowing Professor Fodden personally, we have inherited his passion for sharing our legal thoughts and ideas over online platforms. In mourning his passing we celebrate his contributions to Osgoode. We are grateful for the privilege to continue his blogging legacy.
– TheCourt.ca Staff