John Cartwright

John Cartwright

See Legal History column.
John Robert Cartwright was one of the three lawyers who represented the Co-operative Committee on Japanese Canadians in the reference case In the Matter of a Reference As to the Validity of Orders in Council of the 15th Day of December, 1945 (PC 7355, 7356 and 7357), In Relation to Persons of the Japanese Race, [1946] SCR 248, also reported as Reference re Deportation of Japanese, [1946] 3 DLR 321. Later became a Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada, and eventually became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. John R. Cartwright was born in Toronto on March 23, 1895. He attended Upper Canada College until his graduation in 1912. Following his graduation, John Cartwright began law school at Osgoode Hall and his articles with Smith, Rae & Greer. In 1914, Cartwright put his legal education on hold to serve in WWI with the armed forces. He was wounded twice in 1915 and served as an aide-de-camp for three generals until his return to Canada at the end of the war. In 1917, he received the Military Cross. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1920, and joined the firm where he had completed his articles, Smith, Rae & Greer. In 1947, John Cartwright represented the Government of Canada the prosecutions that arose after the Royal Commission Spying Activities in Canada. John Cartwright practiced law in Toronto for 29 years until his appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1949. In 1967, he was appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and served as Chief Justice until his mandatory retirement in 1970. Justice Cartwright died on November 24, 1979 at the age of 84.


Regularized NameJohn Cartwright

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Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.