On November 16, Suzie Chiodo successfully defended her LLM thesis at Osgoode Hall Law School, entitled "Class Roots: The Genesis of the Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1966-1993." Philip Girard was the thesis supervisor, Justice Paul Perell was second reader, Jamie Benidickson of the University of Ottawa was the external examiner, and Janet Walker of Osgoode chaired the examination committee. The abstract reads in part as follows:
"Nearly 25 years since its passage, the Ontario Class Proceedings Act has become one of the most frequently debated procedural mechanisms of its kind. The CPA came about following the release of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) Report in 1990. None of the current narratives explain how this Report pulled together so many divergent interests where previous attempts had failed. My thesis answers this question with reference to the historical sources and the legal, political and social changes that took place throughout this period."
This thesis also highlights the unique nature of the AGAC consultation process, which saw the negotiation of a consensus between the parties and the subsequent drafting of legislation. Although this process was effective, however, it led to compromises and a lack of democratic oversight that continue to affect the CPA and its goals of access to justice to this day."
Through a combination of archival sleuthing and interviewing, Suzie reconstructed the unusual process by which the Ontario Class Proceedings Act saw the light of day. A unique consultation process involving major (but not all) stakeholders led to a consensus and ultimately the Act, but at the cost of some significant compromises and a lack of democratic oversight that continue to affect the CPA to this day. The examining committee unanimously rated the thesis as "outstanding."
After a BA at Oxford and an early career in journalism, Suzie emigrated to Canada and did a law degree at Western, where she worked with Rande Kostal. She then joined the well-known class actions firm Rochon Genova LLP, where her work obviously inspired her choice of thesis topic.