Pierre-Basile Mignault

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Pierre-Basile Mignault
Pierre-Basile Mignault.png
22nd Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
In office
October 25, 1918 – September 30, 1929
Nominated by Robert Borden
Preceded by Louis Henry Davies
Succeeded by Lawrence Arthur Dumoulin Cannon
Personal details
Born (1854-09-30)September 30, 1854
Worcester, Massachusetts
Died October 15, 1945(1945-10-15) (aged 91)

Pierre-Basile Mignault (September 30, 1854 – October 15, 1945) was a Canadian lawyer and Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Pierre-Basile Mignault and Catherine O'Callaghan, he received a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from McGill University in 1878. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1878. He then proceeded to practice law in Montreal.

His “Droit civil canadien” (1885–1916), a nine volume work on Québec’s civil law, and its relation to the French tradition, continues to be cited by the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

As a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada (1918–1929), Mignault also had a key role in countering a long-standing centralising tendency in Canadian private law, and in increasing the Court’s sensitivity to the subtleties of Québec’s legal tradition. Mignault saw Québec private law as “surtout fille de la France coutumière” (particularly the heir of French pre-revolutionary customary law), yet also a meeting place for a diversity of philosophical and cultural approaches (“Le Code Civil au Canada” in Le Code Civil 1804-1904, Livre du Centenaire, v.2, Paris: Arthur Rousseau. 725).

He is buried in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery. Parc Mignault in Montreal is named in his honour. Armand Marin's biography "L’honorable Pierre-Basile Mignault" (Montréal: Fides) was published in 1946.

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