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Supreme Court of Canada Judges

The Supreme Court of Canada (the Court) was established in 1875, and since 1949 has served as the final court of appeal and the highest legal authority in the Canadian justice system. The Court adjudicates on all areas of the law and on all cases from both the provincial/territorial courts and from the federal court system. Because the Court sits at the top of Canada’s hierarchical court system, its decisions are binding on all other courts in Canada.

The Court consists of one Chief Justice, and eight associate judges. The Constitution empowers the Governor General to appoint Supreme Court judges. In practice, appointments are made on the advice of the Prime Minister. To support the Prime Minister in this duty, the Minister of Justice compiles a shortlist of candidates with input from the provincial law societies.

A number of rules govern who can be appointed to the Court. Candidates must have been a member of a provincial or territorial law society for at least ten years, or have served as a judge in a superior court. In addition, at least three Supreme Court judges must come from Quebec, to ensure that the Court has sufficient expertise in the province’s civil law code. For the sake of geographic representation, convention normally dictates that the Court includes at least one judge from Atlantic Canada, a minimum of two judges from Western Canada, and three judges from Ontario.

Find the names of the current and former Supreme Court judges, the date at which each was appointed to the Court, and the Prime Minister that recommended each for appointment.

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NameRoleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Appointed by
McLachlin, Beverley Chief Justice 2000.01.07 - Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Lamer, Joseph Antonio Charles Chief Justice 1990.07.01 - 2000.01.06 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Dickson, Robert George Brian Chief Justice 1984.04.18 - 1990.06.30 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Laskin, Bora Chief Justice 1973.12.27 - 1984.03.26 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Fauteux, Joseph Honoré Gérald Chief Justice 1970.03.23 - 1973.12.23 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Cartwright, John Robert Chief Justice 1967.09.01 - 1970.03.23 Pearson, Lester Bowles
Taschereau, Robert Chief Justice 1963.04.22 - 1967.09.01 Pearson, Lester Bowles
Kerwin, Patrick Chief Justice 1954.07.01 - 1963.02.02 St-Laurent, Louis Stephen
Rinfret, Thibaudeau Chief Justice 1944.01.08 - 1954.06.22 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Duff, Lyman Poore Chief Justice 1933.03.17 - 1944.01.07 Bennett, Richard Bedford
Anglin, Francis Alexander Chief Justice 1924.09.16 - 1933.02.28 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Davies, Louis Henry Chief Justice 1918.10.23 - 1924.05.01 Borden, Robert Laird
Fitzpatrick, Charles Chief Justice 1906.06.04 - 1918.10.21 Laurier, Wilfrid
Taschereau, Henri Elzéar Chief Justice 1902.11.21 - 1906.05.02 Laurier, Wilfrid
Strong, Samuel Henry Chief Justice 1892.12.13 - 1902.11.18 Thompson, John Sparrow David
Ritchie, William Johnston Chief Justice 1879.01.11 - 1892.09.25 Macdonald, John Alexander
Richards, William Buell Chief Justice 1875.09.30 - 1879.01.11 Mackenzie, Alexander
Gascon, Clément Puisne Judge 2014.06.09 - Harper, Stephen
Wagner, Richard Puisne Judge 2012.10.05 - Harper, Stephen
Karakatsanis, Andromache Puisne Judge 2011.10.21 - Harper, Stephen
Moldaver, Michael J. Puisne Judge 2011.10.21 - Harper, Stephen
Cromwell, Thomas Puisne Judge 2008.12.22 - Harper, Stephen
Rothstein, Marshall E. Puisne Judge 2006.03.01 - Harper, Stephen
Abella, Rosalie Silberman Puisne Judge 2004.08.30 - Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe
Charron, Louise V. Puisne Judge 2004.08.30 - 2011.10 Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe
Fish, Morris Jacob Puisne Judge 2003.08.05 - 2013.08.31 Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Deschamps, Marie Puisne Judge 2002.08.08 - 2012.08.07 Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
LeBel, Louis Puisne Judge 2000.01.07 - Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Arbour, Louise Puisne Judge 1999.09.15 - 2004.06.30 Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Binnie, Ian Puisne Judge 1998.01.08 - 2011.10 Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Bastarache, J.E. Michel Puisne Judge 1997.10.01 - 2008.06.30 Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Major, John Charles Puisne Judge 1992.11.13 - 2005.12.25 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Iacobucci, Frank Puisne Judge 1990.12.21 - 2004.06.30 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Stevenson, W. A. Puisne Judge 1990.09.17 - 1992.06.05 Mulroney, Martin Brian
McLachlin, Beverley Puisne Judge 1989.03.30 - 2000.01.06 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Cory, Peter de Carteret Puisne Judge 1989.01.23 - 1999.06.01 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Gonthier, Charles Puisne Judge 1989.01.23 - 2003.08.01 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Sopinka, John Puisne Judge 1988.05.24 - 1997.11.24 Mulroney, Martin Brian
L'Heureux-Dubé, Claire Puisne Judge 1987.04.15 - 2002.06.30 Mulroney, Martin Brian
LaForest, Gérard Vincent Puisne Judge 1985.01.16 - 1997.09.30 Mulroney, Martin Brian
Le Dain, Gerald Puisne Judge 1984.05.29 - 1988.11.30 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Wilson, Bertha Puisne Judge 1982.03.04 - 1991.01.04 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Lamer, Joseph Antonio Charles Puisne Judge 1980.03.28 - 1990.06.30 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Chouinard, Julien Puisne Judge 1979.09.20 - 1987.02.06 Clark, Charles Joseph
McIntyre, William Rogers Puisne Judge 1978.12.21 - 1989.02.15 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Estey, Willard Z. Puisne Judge 1977.09.29 - 1988.04.22 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Pratte, Yves Puisne Judge 1977.09.29 - 1979.06.30 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Beetz, Jean Puisne Judge 1973.12.24 - 1988.11.10 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
de Grandpré, Louis-Philippe Puisne Judge 1973.12.24 - 1977.10.01 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Dickson, Robert George Brian Puisne Judge 1973.03.15 - 1984.04.17 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Laskin, Bora Puisne Judge 1970.03.19 - 1973.12.26 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott
Pigeon, Louis-Philippe Puisne Judge 1967.09.21 - 1980.02.08 Pearson, Lester Bowles
Spence, Wishart Flett Puisne Judge 1963.05.30 - 1978.12.29 Pearson, Lester Bowles
Hall, Emmett Matthew Puisne Judge 1962.11.23 - 1973.03.01 Diefenbaker, John George
Ritchie, Roland Almon Puisne Judge 1959.05.05 - 1984.10.31 Diefenbaker, John George
Judson, Wilfred Puisne Judge 1958.02.05 - 1977.07.20 Diefenbaker, John George
Martland, Ronald Puisne Judge 1958.01.15 - 1982.02.10 Diefenbaker, John George
Nolan, Henry Gratton Puisne Judge 1956.03.01 - 1957.07.08 St-Laurent, Louis Stephen
Abbott, Douglas Charles Puisne Judge 1954.07.01 - 1973.12.23 St-Laurent, Louis Stephen
Cartwright, John Robert Puisne Judge 1949.12.22 - 1967.08.31 St-Laurent, Louis Stephen
Fauteux, Joseph Honoré Gérald Puisne Judge 1949.12.22 - 1970.03.22 St-Laurent, Louis Stephen
Locke, Charles Holland Puisne Judge 1947.05.30 - 1962.09.16 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Estey, James Wilfred Puisne Judge 1944.10.06 - 1956.01.22 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Kellock, Roy Lindsay Puisne Judge 1944.10.03 - 1958.01.15 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Rand, Ivan Cleveland Puisne Judge 1943.04.22 - 1959.04.27 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Taschereau, Robert Puisne Judge 1940.02.09 - 1963.04.21 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Hudson, Albert Blellock Puisne Judge 1936.03.24 - 1947.01.06 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Kerwin, Patrick Puisne Judge 1935.07.20 - 1954.06.30 Bennett, Richard Bedford
Davis, Henry Hague Puisne Judge 1935.01.31 - 1944.06.30 Bennett, Richard Bedford
Hughes, Frank Joseph Puisne Judge 1933.03.17 - 1935.02.13 Bennett, Richard Bedford
Crocket, Oswald Smith Puisne Judge 1932.09.21 - 1943.04.13 Bennett, Richard Bedford
Cannon, Lawrence Arthur Dumoulin Puisne Judge 1930.01.14 - 1939.12.25 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Smith, Robert Puisne Judge 1927.05.18 - 1933.12.07 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Lamont, John Henderson Puisne Judge 1927.04.02 - 1936.03.10 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Newcombe, Edmund Leslie Puisne Judge 1924.09.20 - 1931.12.09 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Rinfret, Thibaudeau Puisne Judge 1924.09.16 - 1944.01.07 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Malouin, Arthur Cyrille Albert Puisne Judge 1924.01.30 - 1924.10.01 King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Mignault, Pierre Basile Puisne Judge 1918.10.25 - 1929.09.30 Borden, Robert Laird
Brodeur, Louis-Philippe Puisne Judge 1911.08.11 - 1923.10.10 Laurier, Wilfrid
Anglin, Francis Alexander Puisne Judge 1909.02.23 - 1924.09.15 Laurier, Wilfrid
Duff, Lyman Poore Puisne Judge 1906.09.27 - 1933.03.16 Laurier, Wilfrid
Maclennan, James Puisne Judge 1905.10.05 - 1909.02.13 Laurier, Wilfrid
Idington, John Puisne Judge 1905.02.10 - 1927.03.31 Laurier, Wilfrid
Killam, Albert Clements Puisne Judge 1903.08.08 - 1905.02.06 Laurier, Wilfrid
Nesbitt, Wallace Puisne Judge 1903.05.16 - 1905.10.04 Laurier, Wilfrid
Armour, John Douglas Puisne Judge 1902.11.21 - 1903.07.11 Laurier, Wilfrid
Mills, David Puisne Judge 1902.02.08 - 1903.05.08 Laurier, Wilfrid
Davies, Louis Henry Puisne Judge 1901.09.25 - 1918.10.22 Laurier, Wilfrid
Girouard, Désiré Puisne Judge 1895.09.28 - 1911.03.22 Bowell, Mackenzie
King, George Edwin Puisne Judge 1893.09.21 - 1901.05.08 Thompson, John Sparrow David
Sedgewick, Robert Puisne Judge 1893.02.18 - 1906.08.04 Thompson, John Sparrow David
Patterson, Christopher Salmon Puisne Judge 1888.10.27 - 1893.07.24 Macdonald, John Alexander
Gwynne, John Wellington Puisne Judge 1879.01.14 - 1902.01.07 Macdonald, John Alexander
Taschereau, Henri Elzéar Puisne Judge 1878.10.07 - 1902.11.20 Mackenzie, Alexander
Fournier, Télesphore Puisne Judge 1875.09.30 - 1895.09.12 Mackenzie, Alexander
Henry, William Alexander Puisne Judge 1875.09.30 - 1888.05.03 Mackenzie, Alexander
Ritchie, William Johnston Puisne Judge 1875.09.30 - 1879.01.10 Mackenzie, Alexander
Strong, Samuel Henry Puisne Judge 1875.09.30 - 1892.12.12 Mackenzie, Alexander
Taschereau, Jean Thomas Puisne Judge 1875.09.30 - 1878.10.06 Mackenzie, Alexander
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Updated on: 2014.06.09

Revised on: 2014.06.11

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