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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
1.06 MB of textual records.
Scope and content
The fonds of Brian Dickson consists of documents related to his career as judge at the Manitoba Courts (1963-1973) and at the Supreme Court of Canada (1973-1990) for which he became Chief Justice in 1984. The working case files from the Supreme Court of Canada, dating from 1973 to 1990, are virtually complete and provide an informal, inside view of judgment making that complements the official court record (found in RG 125). Other subject files document Dickson's handling of administrative aspects of his work as Chief Justice of Canada. The fonds also includes benchbooks and other material kept by Brian Dickson when sitting on the Manitoba Courts. The fonds also contains documents of Brian Dickson after he retired from the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990. They illustrate his work in many areas including civil justice reform, reform of the military, justice for aboriginal peoples, arbitration, international law and trade. Other personal files as correspondence, notes on speeches and reference material (Black Binders) complete the fonds. The fonds is divided in three series.
Textual records: The finding aid consists of a file list of the contents of the fonds. MSS1971 (Paper)
Textual records: Finding aid. MSS1971 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
Brian Dickson, son of Thomas and Sarah (Gibson) Dickson, was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in 1916. He was educated at the Regina Collegiate Institute and the University of Manitoba, whence he received an LLB in 1938. Although Dickson was called to the bar in 1940, the Second World War intervened. He served in the Royal Canadian Artillery from 1940 to 1945. He was severely wounded in the battle on August 26, 1944 and lost one leg. He married Barbara Sellars in 1943.
From 1945 to 1963, Dickson practised law in Winnipeg with Akins, MacAulay, Moffat, Dickson, Hinch and McGavin; he also lectured at the University of Manitoba from 1948 to 1954. He was appointed a judge on the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in 1963, and he served as judge on the Manitoba Court of Appeal from 1967 to 1973. Dickson was named a puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1973, and from 1984 to 1990 he served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
His community involvements included service as Chancellor of the Anglican Church's Diocese of Rupert's Land, 1960-1971, and as Chairman of the University of Manitoba's Board of Governors from 1971-1973. After retiring from the Supreme Court in 1990 he made significant contributions in many areas including justice for aboriginal peoples, civil justice reform, military justice, and international law. In 1991, Dickson was asked by the Prime Minister to determine the composition and mandate for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 1994, he was appointed as one of Canada's representatives to the Extraordinary Challenge Committee, a binational committee set up under NAFTA to review trade disputes. In 1995, he chaired the Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves and later the Special Advirory Group on Military Justice and Military Police Investigation Services. In 1995, he served as Honorary Chair of the Systems of Civil Justice Task Force from 1996 to 1997 and of the Implementation Committee from 1997 to 1998.
In recognition for Brian Dickson's substantial contribution to Canadian society, he was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada October 25, 1990. He has received numerous other awards for his humanitarian work and service to the Government of Canada. They include the Royal Bank Award, the Vimy Award and, posthumously, the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguish Service. Mr. Dickson died on October 17, 1998. He was 82.
Please consult the accession note for media record to access a description for the 45 photographies and 33 videocassettes.
1. Law Cases Canada. Supreme Court of Canada.
2. Law - History and criticism.
Other system control no.
Related control no.
1. 2000-0032 VSA
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