John Robert Cartwright

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The Right Honourable
John Robert Cartwright
Photograph of John Robert Cartwright (1895-1979) (12172639223).jpg
Graduation photo from Osgoode Law School, 1920
12th Chief Justice of Canada
In office
September 1, 1967 – March 23, 1970
Nominated by Lester B. Pearson
Preceded by Robert Taschereau
Succeeded by Gérald Fauteux
Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
In office
December 22, 1949 – September 1, 1967
Nominated by Louis St. Laurent
Preceded by None (new position)
Succeeded by Louis-Philippe Pigeon
Personal details
Born (1895-03-23)March 23, 1895
Toronto, Ontario
Died November 24, 1979(1979-11-24) (aged 84)
Religion Anglican

John Robert Cartwright, PC CC MC (March 23, 1895 – November 24, 1979) was the 12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Born in Toronto, Cartwright was the son of James Strachan Cartwright and Jane Elizabeth Young. After graduating from Upper Canada College in 1912, he enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School and began his articles with Smith, Rae & Greer.

He interrupted his studies in 1914 to serve overseas with the armed forces during the First World War. In 1915 he was wounded twice and for the following two years was an aide-de-camp to three successive generals. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917.

Upon his return to Canada, he resumed his study of law. He was called to the bar in 1920, then joined the firm of Smith, Rae & Greer in Toronto.

In 1947 he was counsel for the Government of Canada in the prosecutions that resulted from the findings of the Royal Commission on Spying Activities in Canada, which had been chaired by justices Robert Taschereau and Roy Kellock.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on December 22, 1949 and became its chief justice on September 1, 1967. He served on the Supreme Court for 20 years and retired on March 23, 1970. The following year, he accepted a position with the law firm Gowling and Henderson as counsel.


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