Philip Slayton



Praise for Lawyers Gone Bad

“Slayton’s critique shows an insider’s awareness of the legal profession’s most pressing problems.”

Globe and Mail

“…smart and lively… Slayton’s credentials… make him just the man to figure out why lawyers who go bad do so.”

Toronto Star

"Slayton knows how to tell a human-interest, human frailty tale. And he seamlessly interweaves his larcenous-or-libidinous-lawyer stories with the larger legal and ethical issues at play. Lawyers Gone Bad can be read for fun, or for edification, or both.”

Winnipeg Free Press

“Mr. Slayton brings impressive credentials to this exercise and what he says should be of interest to both lawyers and the public… Lawyers Gone Bad is a well-organized, well-written and manageable text that is a welcome addition to the limited literature on lawyer self-regulation.”

Financial Post

“…the profession should take note and engage in debate about the issues Slayton has brought to light.”

Canadian Lawyer

“…authoritative and entertaining book… Slayton has provided a tremendous public service in highlighting the problems.”
Georgia Straight

 “With this titillating tell-all, Philip Slayton has punctured the dignity of a stuffed-shirt profession…

Vancouver Sun

 "I recommend the book to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. It is beautifully written and, at times, the stories are jaw-dropping."
Michael Cochrane, Business News Network

Penguin Canada 2011


Mighty Judgment

How the Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life

Mighty Judgment by Philip Slayton (forthcoming, Spring 2011) follows his provocative and best-selling Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession. Like Slayton’s earlier book, it is written for anyone interested in an essential Canadian institution. 

The book describes important issues the Supreme Court decides for individual Canadians and for Canada as a nation, and the surprising and dramatic ways in which it determines our future.

In the Morgentaler case (1988), the court struck down laws restricting abortion, leaving Canada as the only western country without any abortion laws.

In the Same Sex Marriage Reference (2004), it decided that gays and lesbians can marry.

In the Secession Reference (1998), it laid down the conditions under which Quebec could secede from Canada.

In the Patrick case (2009), the court decided the right of privacy does not stop the police from rifling through garbage, even though Justice Binnie noted “residential waste includes an enormous amount of personal information about what is going on in our homes, including a lot of DNA on household tissues, highly personal records (e.g., love letters, overdue bills and tax returns) and hidden vices (pill bottles, syringes, sexual paraphernalia, etc.). …”

And in January 2010 the court administered a tongue-lashing to the federal government over its treatment of Omar Khadr, and stopped a hair’s breadth short of demanding that Canada seek his repatriation from Guantanamo Bay.

Mighty Judgment argues that the Supreme Court of Canada is a political institution, and that judges are politicians. Decisions are influenced by judges’ backgrounds, personalities and characters; the book describes each Supreme Court judge’s personal history, character and personality, how they work and work together. But judges cannot be voted out of office. Slayton discusses reforms that are needed, particularly in the way judges are chosen, once we recognize that the court decides policy and in many ways governs Canada.


Philip Slayton, an award winning columnist on legal issues, divides his time between Toronto, and Port Medway, Nova Scotia, and a guest lectureship in South Africa.