Joseph Phillip Kennedy

Joseph Phillip Kennedy, Q.C.

Doctor of Laws

A native of Enfield, Hants County, Nova Scotia, Joseph graduated from Saint Mary?s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965 and from Dalhousie Law School three years later. In January, 1969 he was called to the Nova Scotia bar and began his practice in Bridgewater, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia where he practiced for nine years before being made a federal Crown Attorney.

Over the next 29 years, he rose though the ranks of the judiciary being appointed a Judge of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia (1978) and in 1996, the Chief Justice of that Provincial Court. One year later he was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia; then in July 1998, the Prime Minister appointed him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. As such, he sits as a member of Canada's Judicial Council.

His record of involvement in charitable and community organization is varied and wide-spread especially when he was practicing in Lunenburg. For example, he served as the campaign co-ordinator for the Red Cross; a Charter Executive for Big Brothers Big Sisters; assisted the V.O.N. with fund-raising, worked with the Bridgewater School Board as well as serving on the executives of both minor hockey and youth soccer.

As Chief Justice he has been extremely active in speaking and lecturing to the legal community throughout North America. For example, in the last two years alone he has spoke to the following seven major associations:

  • The Missouri Academy of Trial Lawyers, Kansas City, MO
  • The American Society of Administrative Judges, Baltimore, MD
  • Ontario Society of Trail Lawyers, Toronto
  • The International Society of Barristers, Naples, Fla
  • The British Columbia Medical Legal Society, Varadero, Cuba
  • The American Association of Employment Lawyers, San Francisco, CA
  • The Ten Circuit of the District Court of Appeal, Denver, Col

As a very successful Alumnus, the Chief Justice has kept in touch with his alma mater and has been a speaker at various campus events, including the Alumni Annual Dinner.

Contending that, the courts belong to the people and fill one of the most critical functions in society in the sense that respect for the law promotes respect for each other, he is supportive of innovative reforms to the justice system. In partnership with the former Chief Justice, Lorne Clarke, he established one of the first media-court advisory groups in Canada. He is also an advocate for TV cameras in the courtroom for some sentencings.

Married to the former Helen Gemma MacDonald of Sydney, the Kennedy's have two children, B.P and Megan, both currently residing in the United States.

Chief Justice Kennedy claims to be, a life-long fan of the Boston Red Sox (but is other wise sane).