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N.S. Supreme Court justice dies at age 70

Monday, December 17, 2018 @ 10:44 AM | By John Chunn


John David Murphy, a longtime justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, passed away this weekend, less than five months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 70 years old.

“Justice Murphy was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy. “He was the definitive trial judge, sitting on civil, criminal and family trials; I know that others would agree when I say he was one of the very best judges to sit on the Nova Scotia bench. His death is a huge loss — our thoughts are with his many friends and family, including his children and his wife, Justice Theresa Forgeron, another member of our bench.”

John Murphy

Justice John Murphy

Originally from Charlottetown, Justice Murphy studied law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, graduating in 1973. He served for a year as law clerk to Roland A. Ritchie, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in August 1974.

Justice Murphy practised law at Stewart McKelvey and its predecessor firms for 27 years, focusing primarily on admiralty law, marine and fisheries, commerce and litigation. He received his Queen’s Counsel designation in 1991 and was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia 10 years later, on March 1, 2001.

Often described as a humble and understated man, Justice Murphy gave back by actively participating in many professional, community and church organizations and committees, including serving as vice-president of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (2000), a leader with the Boy Scouts of Canada and a former legal adviser for the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.

A celebration of Justice Murphy’s life is planned for later this week in Halifax.