Sir Charles Fitzpatrick
Charles Fitzpatrick.jpg
5th Chief Justice of Canada
In office
June 4, 1906 – October 21, 1918
Nominated byWilfrid Laurier
Preceded byHenri Elzéar Taschereau
Succeeded byLouis Henry Davies
12th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
In office
October 23, 1918 – October 31, 1923
MonarchGeorge V
Governor GeneralThe Duke of Devonshire
The Lord Byng of Vimy
PremierLomer Gouin
Louis-Alexandre Taschereau
Preceded byPierre-Évariste Leblanc
Succeeded byLouis-Philippe Brodeur
MP for Quebec County
In office
August 19, 1896 – June 3, 1906
Preceded byJules Joseph Taschereau Frémont
Succeeded byLorenzo Robitaille
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
In office
February 11, 1902 – June 3, 1906
Preceded byDavid Mills
Succeeded byAllen Bristol Aylesworth
Solicitor General of Canada
In office
July 13, 1896 – February 9, 1902
Preceded byCharles Hibbert Tupper
Succeeded byHenry George Carroll
MLA for Québec-Comté
In office
June 17, 1890 – June 11, 1896
Preceded byThomas Chase-Casgrain
Succeeded byNémèse Garneau
Personal details
Born(1851-12-19)December 19, 1851
Quebec City, Canada East
DiedJune 17, 1942(1942-06-17) (aged 90)
Quebec City, Quebec
Resting placeCimetière Saint-Michel de Sillery
Political partyQuebec Liberal Party (1890–1896)
Liberal Party of Canada (1896–1906)

Sir Charles Fitzpatrick GCMG PC (December 19, 1851 – June 17, 1942) was a Canadian lawyer and politician, who served as the fifth Chief Justice of Canada. He was born in Quebec City, Canada East, to John Fitzpatrick and Mary Connolly.[1]

He studied at Laval University, earning his B.A. degree (1873) and LL.B degree (1876), earning the Dufferin Silver Medal.[2] Called to the bar of Quebec in 1876, he established his practice in Quebec City and later founded the law firm of Fitzpatrick & Taschereau. [1]

Fitzpatrick, MP
Fitzpatrick, MP

In 1885, he acted as chief counsel to Louis Riel who was on trial for leading the North-West Rebellion. Riel was found guilty and sentenced to death.[3]

Fitzpatrick entered politics in 1890, winning election to the Quebec Legislative Assembly in Québec-Comté electoral district. He was re-elected in 1892, but resigned in June 1896 to enter federal politics.[citation needed]

He was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in Quebec County electoral district in the 1896 federal election as a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP). He served as Solicitor General of Canada from 1896 to 1902, and as Minister of Justice from 1902 until 1906.[citation needed]

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada as Chief Justice. He served in that position until 1918 when he was appointed the 12th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. During his period as Lieutenant Governor, his nephew acted as Premier of Quebec, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau.[citation needed]

He is the only Chief Justice other than Sir William Buell Richards to have served in that position without having first been a Puisne Justice on the court (Richards was Chief Justice at the court's creation in 1875), and the only Chief Justice to have been appointed without any prior judicial experience.[citation needed]

In 1905, he took part, as the federal government representative, in the negotiations that led to the creation of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. He was knighted in 1907.[citation needed]

May 20, 1879, Fitzpatrick married Marie-Elmire-Corinne Caron, daughter of René-Édouard Caron, 2nd Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, and his wife Marie-Joséphine De Blois.Chief Justice Fitzpatrick died on June 17, 1942, aged 90 years and 6 months; he is interred in Sillery, at Saint-Michel Cemetery (cimetière Saint-Michel de Sillery).[4]


There is a Charles Fitzpatrick fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[5]


  1. ^ a b Canada, Supreme Court of; Canada, Public Works and Government Services (1 November 2000). The Supreme Court of Canada and its Justices 1875–2000: La Cour suprême du Canada et ses juges 1875–2000. Dundurn. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-77070-095-6.
  2. ^ History of the Administration of the Earl of Dufferin in Canada, by William Leggo, Toronto: Lovell Printing and Publishing Company (1878), pg. 877
  3. ^ Canada, Supreme Court of (1 January 2001). "Supreme Court of Canada – Biography – Charles Fitzpatrick". Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Sir Charles Fitzpatrick P.C.G.C.M.G. 1851—1942: BillionGraves Record". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Charles Fitzpatrick fonds, Library and Archives Canada". 20 July 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2020.