Joseph Thorson

Joseph Thorson

Joseph T. Thorson was President of the Exchequer Court of Canada 1942-1964. Heard Nakashima. Issued a judgement dismissing the petition on the basis that the Custodian was not a servant of the Crown and could not be sued in the Exchequer Court.
Served as Minister of National War Services in Mackenzie King's administration 1941-1942. Appointed to the Exchequer Court on 6 October 1942. The Honourable Joseph Thorson was born in Manitoba on March 15, 1889. Of Icelandic heritage, his parents immigrated to Winnipeg and Gimli in 1887. He studied Classics at Manitoba College and graduated in 1910 with Honours. Thorson was also selected as Rhodes Scholar in 1910 and as a result, went to study law at New College, Oxford. He was called to the bar in England in 1913. He enlisted as a soldier in WWI, and served as an officer in charge of a prisoner-of-war camp in France. When Thorson returned to Canada after the war, he practiced law in Winnipeg and taught at the Manitoba Law School. From 1921 to 1926, he served as Dean of the law school. From 1926 to 1930, Thorson served as a Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre and was MP for Selkirk from 1935 to 1942. In 1930, Thorson was appointed King’s Counsel and in 1938, Thorson was appointed as one of the Canadian delegates to the League of Nations. Joseph Thorson was recognized internationally for his work as he was appointed to the International Congress of Jurists in 1952 and 1955. From 1952 to 1959 he served as President of the International Commission of Jurists. The Exchequer Court in general (and Thorson in particular) was noted for chronic delay in rendering judgements after hearing cases in this period. (Thorson often took a year or two to render decisions and took more than three years in the case of Nakashima.) The Thorson court generally preferred to restrict Crown liability where possible and was sometimes perceived as a defender of the government, particularly in its earlier years.
Married to Alleen Thorson.


Regularized NameJoseph Thorson


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Other Archival Files (34)

Shared Surnames

NameSee also
Alleen Thorson
Joseph Thorson


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