Encyclopedia

Judges of the Court of King’s Bench for Upper Canada, 1791-1841

Contributor – Jim Phillips

William Osgoode was the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada, appointed to that post in 1791. The Court of King’s Bench was not formally established until three years later, in 1794 – Judicature Act, 34 Geo III, c. 2. The Judicature Act specified that the court was to consist of three judges – the Chief Justice of Ontario and two puisne judges, although it only had two judges for the first two years.

Although Osgoode drafted the Judicature Act he never sat as Chief Justice of King’s Bench, leaving the colony to become Chief Justice of Lower Canada in 1794.

The list of judges below is divided by the periods in which each Chief Justice served.

1794-1796

  • William Powell – Puisne Judge and Acting Chief Justice
  • Peter Russell – Acting Puisne Judge 1794 – 1796

1796-1802

  • John Elmsley – Chief Justice 1796-1802
  • William Powell – Puisne Judge
  • Henry Allcock – Puisne Judge

1802-1806

  • Henry Allcock – Chief Justice 1802 – 1806
  • William Powell – Puisne Judge
  • Thomas Cochrane – Puisne Judge 1803 – 1804; replaced by
  • Robert Thorpe – Puisne Judge

1806-1816

  • Thomas Scott – Chief Justice 1806 – 1816
  • William Powell – Puisne Judge
  • Robert Thorpe – Puisne Judge until suspended in 1807; replaced after a four year vacancy by William Campbell – Puisne Judge

1816-1825

  • William Powell – Chief Justice 1816 – 1825
  • William Campbell – Puisne Judge
  • Darcy Boulton – Puisne Judge from 1818 – seat vacant 1816-1818

1825-1829

  • William Campbell – Chief Justice 1825 – 1829
  • Darcy Boulton – Puisne Judge to 1827; replaced by
  • John Willis – Puisne Judge 1827 – 1828; replaced by
  • Christopher Hagerman – Puisne Judge 1828 – 1829; replaced by
  • James Macaulay – Puisne Judge
  • Levius Sherwood – Puisne Judge

1829 – 1837

  • John Beverley Robinson – Chief Justice 1829 – 1837
  • James Macaulay – Puisne Judge
  • Levius Sherwood – Puisne Judge

In 1837 the number of judges was increased to five, and Archibald MacLean and Jonas Jones were added to the court in consequence.

1837 – 1841

  • John Beverley Robinson – Chief Justice – 1837-1841 (served until 1862)
  • James Macaulay – Puisne Judge (served until 1843)
  • Levius Sherwood – Puisne Judge, until 1840, replaced by
  • Christopher Hagerman – Puisne Judge (served until 1847)
  • Archibald MacLean – Puisne Judge (served until 1850
  • Jonas Jones – Puisne Judge (served until 1848)