BCLI Remembers Donovan Waters, KC FRSC 1928-2023
September 21, 2023
BY Greg Blue
BCLI regrets the passing on 9 September 2023 of Donovan W.M. Waters, KC FRSC. Dr. Waters was an internationally renowned legal scholar, law professor, and practitioner. As Chair of BCLI’s Trustee Act Modernization Committee, Dr. Waters presided over one of the most influential law reform projects BCLI has conducted, and also the lengthiest. The report generated by the BCLI project he led, A Modern Trustee Act for British Columbia, became the foundation for the Uniform Trustee Act promulgated by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, which has been enacted in large part by two provinces.
Dr. Waters graduated from Oxford and the University of London, and was a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. He taught at several Canadian universities, including McGill University and the University of Victoria. Following his official retirement from the University of Victoria, he practiced as counsel in Vancouver and Victoria law firms and consulted internationally for more than two decades.
The contributions of Donovan Waters to legal scholarship were immense. His book The Law of Trusts in Canada, now in its 5th edition (of which our current director Prof. Mark Gillen is a co-author), is the definitive work on the subject. He was known throughout the world as an authority on the law of trusts. His scholarship was recognized by a DCL awarded by Oxford University, two honorary doctorates from other universities, and his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Dr. Waters introduced generations of law students to the law of trusts, and was revered by many as an outstanding and memorable law teacher, consultant, and colleague. His passing is a great loss to the Canadian legal and academic communities, and to the common law world.