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Mr. Justice Francis P. O’Brien is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of NL, Court of Appeal

Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity. 

Francis P. O’Brien, Director of Legal Education at the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Court of Appeal. He replaces Mr. Justice M.H. Rowe, who was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 28, 2016.


Justice Francis P. O’Brien is a graduate of Memorial University (B.A. in French and political science), Dalhousie University (LL.B.) and the University of Cambridge (LL.M.). As part of the first generation of his family to attend university, Justice O’Brien was designated a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and received numerous academic and professional awards.

Called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1991, Justice O’Brien first practised civil litigation in St. John’s with a private firm. He later became the Director of Legal Education with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. In this role, he has educated more than 500 new lawyers in the provincial Bar Admission Course. In addition, he has coordinated the development and delivery of more than 150 continuing legal education programs for members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar.

Justice O’Brien has also been an Adjunct Professor at Memorial University since 1994, teaching courses in Canadian constitutional law, international law, governance, and public policy. Over the years, he has taught more than 3,000 students. Justice O’Brien has also served as president of the Association of Canadian Legal Education Directors, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Technical Advisory Group for the National Entry to Practice Competency Profile, and the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (Memorial University).