Dedication to the Honourable Dennis Lane QC

AuthorDavid A. Potts; Erin Stoik
Dedication to the Honourable Dennis Lane QC
The Honourable DennisLane QC (Justice of the Ontario Superior Court
of Justice, 1989–2007), who regrettably passed awayin June 2020, playeda
big role in my careeras a defamation lawyer. I want to pay this belated but
heartfelt tributeto his kindness, generosity, and wisdom bydedicatingthis
text to him.
It began nearly forty years ago while he was a busy Queen’s Counsel at
Osler’s and I was a fourth year lawyer working as a junior to Julian PorterQC.
I was writing a libel text with Julian, and I contacted Dennis to discuss some
aspects of libel law with him. More precisely, section 22 of the Libel and Slan-
der Act and its impact on the common law as it applied to the defence of
justif‌ication relating to multiple stings. As you can imagine, this is a topic
of riveting contemporary interest. He spent a full day with me, discussing,
dissecting, and unravelling this issue. He was thoughtful and insightful, but
not patronizing to me in the slightest even though he knew more libel law
in his baby f‌inger than I knew at all.
His advice continued as he urged me to join the Defamation Law section
of the International Bar Association. I did so and became a Sherpa, aka Vice
President, organizing many conferences and meetings of some of the top
defamation lawyers in the world.
He became a judge of the Superior Court of Justice. He seemed to make
the transition seamlessly from leading counsel to excellent judge. He heard
a wide range of civil, criminal, family, and public law cases.
He wrote several important decisions in defamation law:
Schreiber v Lavoie (2002),59 OR (3d) 130, 2002 CanLII 49430 (SC)
Hodgson v Canadian Newspapers Co (1998), 39 OR (3d) 235 (Gen Div)
Venneri v Bascom (1996),28 OR (3d) 281, 1996 CanLII 7972 (SC)
Magnotta Winery Ltd v Ziraldo (1995), 25 OR (3d) 575,1995 CanLII 7122 (SC)

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