Frederick William Bissett

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Frederick William Bissett
Frederick William Bissett.jpg
Born1902 (1902)
Died1978 (aged 75–76)
Alma materDalhousie University (1926)
OccupationLawyer, judge.
Years active1926–1977

Frederick William Bissett (1902-1978) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Canada and is known for having previously represented Viola Desmond during his career as a lawyer.[1] Bissett's decision to opt for a judicial review rather than appeal the original conviction proved disastrous. Furthermore, Bissett chose to focus the case on the issue of tax evasion and not on the basis of racial discrimination.[2] When dismissing the case, Justice William Lorimer Hall said:

Upon losing the case, Bissett refused to bill Desmond and his fees were donated back to William Pearly Oliver's Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

Bissett's parents moved from St. John's, Newfoundland to Halifax, Nova Scotia when he was 3 months old. He graduated from Dalhousie University in 1926 and later became a Justice of Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in 1961. He retired in 1977 and died the following year.


  1. ^ Backhouse 1999, p. 252
  2. ^ Backhouse 1999, p. 266
  3. ^ "Dismisses Desmond Application". The Halifax Chronicle. April 15, 1947. p. 14. Retrieved February 20, 2015.