Welcome the Newest Unworthy Donor


  • Jane Thomson


This article explores the cy-près doctrine, the administrative scheme-making power of superior courts, and the application of these concepts to discrimination in the private law. The author considers whether these doctrines can be applied to rename a charitable purpose trust named after Kenneth Hilborn — a professor who expressed views offensive to the University of Western Ontario’s goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion — even though the trust itself includes no discriminatory conditions or terms. After examining the University of Western Ontario’s pleadings, the author concludes that the law as it stands does not support a Superior Court exercising its inherent jurisdiction to sanction the removal of Professor Hilborn’s name from the Hilborn Scholarships. However, given that the action is unopposed, it is possible that Western’s application may, nevertheless, be granted. Short of this, the author discusses other non-legal options available to Western to deal with the problem of an “unworthy donor.”






Symposium in honour of Bruce Ziff