Nova Scotia Supreme Court

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Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court is a superior court in the province of Nova Scotia.

The Court comprises a Chief Justice, the Associate Chief justice, twenty-one judges and six supernumerary (or semiretired) Justices, who sit in 18 different locations around the province.


As with all superior courts across the country, the court is said to have inherent jurisdiction. It hears civil and criminal trials. The criminal trials can be judge alone or judge and jury. The court will also hear appeals from the provincial court, small claims court, Family court, and various provincial tribunals.

Appeals of Supreme Court decisions are then made to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.


1st Chief Justice Jonathan Belcher by John Singleton Copley (1754), Court Room 4, Nova Scotia Supreme Court
Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange By Benjamin West, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Court Room 5, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada[1]

While the first court administering the Common Law was established in Annapolis Royal in 1721, the creation of a Supreme Court took place on October 21, 1754, several years before the Province was granted a legislative assembly. The court is the oldest court in Canada and is among the oldest in North America.

Jonathan Belcher was appointed the first Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. The court's jurisdiction extended to the entire colony, which, after the Treaty of Paris ended the war with France in 1763, includes present day Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and eastern Maine.

In 1990, on the recommendation of the Nova Scotia Court Structure Task Force, the County and Supreme courts were merged to create a bench of 25 judges at the trial level. Since 1999, the Supreme Court also administers the Nova Scotia Family Division Court, with eight judges, that has jurisdiction over divorces and other family law cases in the Halifax and industrial Cape Breton.

Supreme Court Family Division[edit]

The Supreme Court includes the Family Division which adjudicates matters of family law in the regions of Halifax and Cape Breton. As Supreme Court Justices, they have authority over both divorce as well as all other family law matters, unlike their provincial court counterparts who do not have the federal authority to adjudicate divorces.

Judges of the Supreme Court[edit]

Position Name Location Date appointed
Chief Justice Joseph Phillip Kennedy Halifax 1997 (SC) and 1998 (CJ)
Associate Chief Justice Deborah K. Smith Halifax 2001 (SC) and 2004 (ACJ)
Justice Allan Boudreau (supernumerary) Halifax, Nova Scotia 1990
Justice James L. Chipman Halifax 2013
Justice Felix A. Cacchione (supernumerary) Halifax 1993
Justice Pierre L. Muise Yarmouth 2010
Justice Kevin Coady Halifax 2003
Justice C. Richard Coughlan (supernumerary) Bridgewater 2001
Justice Patrick J. Duncan Halifax 2007
Justice Frank C. Edwards (supernumerary) Sydney 1993
Justice Jeffrey R. Hunt Truro 2015
Justice Suzanne M. Hood (supernumerary) Halifax 1995
Justice Arthur J. LeBlanc (supernumerary) Halifax 1998
Justice A. David Macadam (supernumerary) Halifax 1992
Justice Simon J. MacDonald (supernumerary) Sydney 1993
Justice Joshua M. Arnold Halifax 2013
Justice Glen G. McDougall Halifax 2001
Justice Gerald R.P. Moir Halifax 1997
Justice John D. Murphy Halifax 2001
Justice Patrick Murray Sydney 2010
Justice Arthur W. D. Pickup Halifax 2002
Justice M. Heather Robertson (supernumerary) Halifax 1998
Justice Robin C. M. Gogan Sydney 2013
Justice N.M. (Nick) Scaravelli Pictou/Antigonish 2006
Justice Margaret Stewart (supernumerary) Bridgewater 1992
Justice Gregory M. Warner Kentville
Justice Michael Wood Halifax 2011

Judges of the Supreme Court Family Division[edit]

Position Name Location
Associate Chief Justice Lawrence I. O'Neil
Justice Douglas C. Campbell Halifax
Justice Leslie J. Dellapinna Halifax
Justice Theresa M. Forgeron Sydney
Justice Deborah Gass Halifax
Justice Kenneth Haley Sydney
Justice Elizabeth Jollimore Halifax
Justice Moira C. Legere-Sers Halifax
Justice Mona Lynch Halifax
Justice Beryl A. MacDonald Halifax
Justice Robert M Gregan Sydney
Justice Robert Ferguson Halifax
Justice R. James Williams Halifax
Justice Darryl W. Wilson Sydney


  1. ^ According to Thomas Akins, this portrait hung in the legislature of Province House (Nova Scotia) in 1847 (See Akins, History of Halifax, p. 189). According the Arthur Eaton, the portrait was still in Province House in 1891. p. 33

External links[edit]