Charles Fitzpatrick

The Right Honourable
Sir Charles Fitzpatrick
5th Chief Justice of Canada
In office
June 4, 1906  October 21, 1918
Nominated by Wilfrid Laurier
Preceded by Henri Elzéar Taschereau
Succeeded by Louis Henry Davies
12th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
In office
October 23, 1918  October 31, 1923
Monarch George V
Governor General The Duke of Devonshire
The Lord Byng of Vimy
Premier Lomer Gouin
Louis-Alexandre Taschereau
Preceded by Pierre-Évariste Leblanc
Succeeded by Louis-Philippe Brodeur
MP for Quebec County
In office
August 19, 1896  June 3, 1906
Preceded by Jules Joseph Taschereau Frémont
Succeeded by Lorenzo Robitaille
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
In office
February 11, 1902  June 3, 1906
Preceded by David Mills
Succeeded by Allen Bristol Aylesworth
Solicitor General of Canada
In office
July 13, 1896  February 9, 1902
Preceded by Charles Hibbert Tupper
Succeeded by Henry George Carroll
MLA for Québec-Comté
In office
June 17, 1890  June 11, 1896
Preceded by Thomas Chase-Casgrain
Succeeded by Némèse Garneau
Personal details
Born (1851-12-19)December 19, 1851
Quebec City, Canada East
Died June 17, 1942(1942-06-17) (aged 90)
Quebec City, Quebec
Political party Quebec Liberal Party (1890–1896)
Liberal Party of Canada (1896–1906)
Religion Roman Catholic

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.

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

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.

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.

He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 88 years and 6 months; he is interred in Sillery, Quebec.


  1. History of the Administration of the Earl of Dufferin in Canada, by William Leggo, Toronto: Lovell Printing and Publishing Company (1878), pg. 877
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