Dugald Christie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dugald Christie (1941 – July 31, 2006) was a Canadian lawyer and political activist. He was based in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. He was the grandson of Dr Dugald Christie (Christie of Mukden) - a Scottish Presbyterian missionary doctor who founded the Mukden Medical College in Shenyang, China.

Christie began his political activities in 1991 when he began to offer free legal service to low-income people in Vancouver. As the head of the Western Canada Society to Access Justice he was instrumental in setting up numerous pro-bono clinics across western Canada. He charged extremely low fees, and his net income in the years 1991 to 1999 did not exceed $30,000 per year.[1]

Christie is most noteworthy for a 2005 court challenge of a British Columbia law that extended provincial sales tax to legal services. Christie argued that the law unjustly infringed on the constitutionally-protected rights of low income people to access the justice system. He met with partial success at the Court of Appeal,[2] but a further appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the lower court's decision on May 25, 2007.[1][3]

In 2006 Christie began an effort to bicycle across Canada in order to raise awareness of the shortcomings of legal assistance programs in Canada. On July 31, 2006 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Christie was killed when he was hit by a van during his trip.[4][5]


Since 2009, students at the McGill University Law Faculty have been holding an annual community bike ride to celebrate Dugald Christie's legacy and continue his work. Each fall, participants from the Law Faculty and the wider community collect donations and raise awareness about access to justice issues in Montreal.[6]


  1. ^ a b "British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Christie, 2007 SCC 21". Supreme Court of Canada. 2007-05-25. Archived from the original on 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  2. ^ "2005 BCCA 631 Christie v. British Columbia". Court of appeal for British Columbia. 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  3. ^ Makin, Kirk (2007-05-25). "No right to tax-free counsel: Supreme Court". Globe and Mail. CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  4. ^ "B.C. legal crusader killed in cycling accident". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-08-01. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  5. ^ "Dugald Christie". Canadian Bar Association. 2006-08-01. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  6. ^ https://christieride.wordpress.com/w5/