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Chief Justice W.R. Jackett

Chief Justice W.R. Jackett: By the Law of the Land

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Chief Justice W.R. Jackett
    Book Description:

    After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan's College of Law, Jackett was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar. He returned to Canada from Oxford not long before the outbreak of World War II and joined the ten-man Department of Justice as a junior lawyer. Through extraordinary hard work, rigorous legal analysis, and a bent for organization, he eventually became Canada's eighth deputy minister of Justice. He left this position after three years to become general counsel for the Canadian Pacific Railway and was later appointed president of the Exchequer Court of Canada.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6807-5
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    R. Roy McMurtry and Peter N. Oliver

    The purpose of The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is to encourage research and writing in the history of Canadian law. The Society, which was incorporated in 1979 and is registered as a charity was founded at the initiative of the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry a former attorney general for Ontario, now chief justice of Ontario, and officials of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Its efforts to stimulate the study of legal history in Canada include a research-support program, a graduate student research-assistance program, and work in the fields of oral history and legal archives. The Society publishes...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xii)

    The idea for this book came to me in the course of preparation for an income-tax appeal, ultimately spectacularly unsuccessful, in which I had replaced previous counsel. It was possible that members of that firm might be called as witnesses to explain the background of the matters in issue and they could not, therefore, act in the matter before the courts. Wilbur Jackett was advisory counsel to the firm and it was agreed that he would be available to assist in the preparation of the case. I had not seen him since his retirement from the bench in 1979 but...

  5. Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 Beginnings
    (pp. 3-25)

    Early in the second half of the nineteenth century, four brothers, some accompanied by the beginnings of the next generations of their families, set out from Devonshire, England, to make their lives in Canada. They settled in the general vicinity of Peterborough and of Lindsay, Ontario, and took up farming or the different trades that supported the largely agricultural economy of the area. Many of the brothers’ descendants remain in the region and some still farm. Others branched out into different activities as the families expanded and the farms eventually were no longer sufficient to support all the progeny. The...

  7. 2 Oxford Years
    (pp. 26-46)

    Jackett left Kamsack by train on 25 September 1934. One of his pieces of luggage, which he has kept ever since, was an old-fashioned leather club bag, which the town had presented to him in honour of his Rhodes scholarship. Stopping for a day in Winnipeg to visit with Charlie and Frank Scribner and to have lunch with the local manager of the Beaver Lumber Company, he took in the big-city sights to pass the time before boarding the daily eastbound Canadian National train. He commenced at once to write regularly to the family, which, although proud of his accomplishments...

  8. 3 The Saskatchewan Triumvirate
    (pp. 47-59)

    H.M. Stewart was not in a position to offer Jackett anything upon his return, not even the menial work that had been available immediately following graduation from the College of Law. Jackett wrote letters to practically all the lawyers he knew, including Ronald Martland, a 1928 Rhodes scholar and later a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada, who had been ahead of him at Oxford, and Buzz Fenerty, who had returned to his father’s firm in Calgary, as well as to W.B. Francis at the McKercher firm where he had worked in Saskatoon during law school. There were no...

  9. 4 Life in the Department
    (pp. 60-87)

    It would be difficult to understand Wilbur Jackett without examining the figure who had the most influence on him as a lawyer and who taught him much of what he learned about the real practice of law. Over the period of his professional life, Jackett has appeared with, appeared before, and worked with some of the best-known professionals in Canadian and British law. But few had as much to do with the shaping of him as a lawyer as Frederick Percy Varcoe.

    Undoubtedly the leading governmental lawyer of his day, Varcoe had been the number three lawyer in the Department...

  10. 5 Deputy Minister
    (pp. 88-129)

    With the retirement of Frederick Varcoe as deputy minister of justice, on 1 May 1957, an era came to an end. He had been in the position for some sixteen years and had left a considerable mark on the federal government and the manner in which its legal business was conducted. There were big shoes to be filled. At a press conference on 15 April 1957, following a Cabinet meeting the same day and three days after the fifth session of the twenty-second Parliament finished, Prime Minister Louis St Laurent announced the appointment of Wilbur Roy Jackett to the position...

  11. 6 Interlude: The CPR Years
    (pp. 130-144)

    The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, then headquartered in Montreal, was a large national corporation with vast resources and holdings. It was a private enterprise that had excellent, even surprising, federal governmental support in view of the government’s commitment to its own, unprofitable, national railway venture. Given the federal-provincial tensions of a constitutional nature as well as the normal business relationships that generate disputes, it was also involved in its share of commercial, industrial, and regulatory litigation, always ready to challenge established legal dogma. It needed well-trained lawyers, especially those with a constitutional background, who would be familiar with the legal...

  12. 7 The Exchequer Court of Canada
    (pp. 145-196)

    By order-in-council dated 28 April 1964, Wilbur Roy Jackett was appointed president of the Exchequer Court of Canada. There was an interesting background to this important nomination.

    Within a month of Jackett’s departure for Montreal in July 1960, another resignation from the Department of Justice occurred, and this one would have consequences that Jackett could never have contemplated. Guy Favreau, then an assistant deputy minister, left the department to take up private practice in Montreal. Jackett had been aware of the impending resignation and tried to talk him out of it, but Favreau was adamant. The final determining factor may...

  13. 8 Extracurricular Activities: The Canadian Judicial Council and the Federal Court of Canada
    (pp. 197-225)

    In addition to his duties as president of the Exchequer Court, Jackett became intimately involved in two initiatives that would change the judicial landscape in Canada. The first was the formation of the Canadian Judicial Council and the second was the design and development of the Federal Court of Canada. Both came about as a result of his vast experience in government, his ability in legislative drafting, and his prodigious capacity for sustained hard work. Even more remarkable was the fact that both developments were proceeding at roughly the same time, although the preliminary work on the Canadian Judicial Council...

  14. 9 The Jackett Court
    (pp. 226-276)

    Since the old Exchequer Court had been completely transformed into the new Federal Court, there was a challenge of having to deal, in effect, with two courts and a selection had to be made from among the existing judges as to who would sit in the Trial Division and who would be designated for the Court of Appeal. There were egos to be managed, a matter of which Jackett was very much aware as he made the selections from among the Exchequer Court judges that would be confirmed by the appropriate authorities. He also needed an associate chief justice in...

  15. 10 Retirement
    (pp. 277-288)

    Once the deed was done and the retirement formalized, Jackett renewed his membership in the Law Society of Upper Canada. He called Kenneth Jarvis, the secretary of the Law Society, on 5 October 1979, to advise him that he had ceased to be a judge of the Federal Court effective 1 October 1979, and that he would appreciate having his membership reinstated. Jarvis replied on 18 October and Jackett followed up with a handwritten letter stating that he wanted to be classified as an active, rather than retired, member under the appropriate rule:

    My plans are to attempt to do...

  16. Appendix 1 Extracts from Chief Justice Laskin’s Judgment in the Capricorn Case
    (pp. 291-295)
  17. Appendix 2 Department of Justice Lawyers, 1938-65
    (pp. 296-300)
  18. Appendix 3 Ministers of Justice and Deputy Ministers of Justice
    (pp. 301-303)
  19. Appendix 4 Interviewees and Correspondents
    (pp. 304-306)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 307-348)
  21. Index
    (pp. 349-361)