Judges of the Court
The Honourable Sir William Johnstone Ritchie, Kt.
William Johnstone Ritchie was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, on October 28, 1813. He was the son of Thomas Ritchie and Elizabeth Wildman Johnstone. After graduating from the Pictou Academy, he studied law in Halifax in the office of his brother, John William Ritchie. He was called to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1837 but moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, and was called to the bar of that province the following year. In 1846 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. In keeping with his pledge to resign if a fellow Liberal candidate failed to win a by-election, he gave up his seat in 1851, only to be re-elected three years later. In 1855 he left politics to accept an appointment to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, and 10 years later he was named Chief Justice of New Brunswick. He was appointed to the newly established Supreme Court of Canada on September 30, 1875 and became its chief justice on January 11, 1879. He served on the Supreme Court for 17 years. Chief Justice Ritchie died on September 25, 1892, at the age of 78.