William Buell Richards

William Johnstone Ritchie Chief Justice of Canada Upper Canada

Sir William Buell Richards

William Buell Richards.jpg
The Honourable Sir William Buell Richards, portrait by his niece Frances Richards
1st Chief Justice of Canada
In office
September 30, 1875 – January 10, 1879
Nominated byAlexander Mackenzie
Succeeded byWilliam Johnstone Ritchie
Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada for Leeds
In office
Preceded byOgle Robert Gowan
Succeeded byThe electoral district was abolished.
Personal details
Born(1815-05-02)May 2, 1815
Brockville, Upper Canada
DiedJanuary 26, 1889(1889-01-26) (aged 73)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyReformer[citation needed]
RelationsWilliam Buell, uncle
Stephen Richards, brother
Albert Norton Richards, brother
Alma materSt. Lawrence Academy

Sir William Buell Richards, PC (May 2, 1815 – January 26, 1889) was the first Chief Justice of Canada.[citation needed]

Richards was born in Brockville, Upper Canada to Stephen Richards and Phoebe Buell. He earned law degree at the St. Lawrence Academy in Potsdam, New York and then articled with his uncle Andrew Norton Buell in Brockville. He was called to the bar in 1837 and continued to practice in Brockville with George Malloch until 1853 and then with his uncle again.[citation needed]

In 1848 Richards was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada and by 1848 he became the Attorney General for the province. Leaving politics in June 1853, he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas of Canada West and by 1863 he became Chief Justice.[citation needed]

In November 1868 Richards was appointed to Chief Justice of the province which was the highest court in Ontario at that time, the Supreme Court not yet having been created. It was during this time that he heard the appeal of Patrick James Whelan for the murder of Thomas D'Arcy McGee.[citation needed]

With the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1875 Richards was appointed directly to the position of Chief Justice which he stayed at until his retirement on January 10, 1879.[citation needed]

His brother Albert Norton Richards served in the Canadian House of Commons and was Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. His niece Frances Richards painted his official portrait.[citation needed]

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Preceded by
Robert Baldwin
Attorney General of Canada West
Succeeded by
John Alexander Macdonald