John W. Morden


After retiring from the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Honourable John W. Morden joined the Heenan Blaikie law firm in 2004. He acts as general counsel for the firm, advising chiefly with respect to civil, commercial, and public law matters.

After his call to the Bar in 1961, Mr. Morden practised civil litigation with the Toronto firm Day Wilson Campbell for 12 years. During that period, from 1964 to 1971, he was Counsel to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Civil Rights. In 1969, he was Assistant Counsel to the House of Commons Special Committee on Statutory Instruments. While maintaining a very active practice, he was a member of the Senate of the University of Toronto and a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and served as Editor of the Land Compensation Reports.

In 1973, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice of Ontario, Supreme Court of Ontario. Five years later, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, a position he held until his retirement in 2003. From 1990 to 1999, he held the position of Associate Chief Justice of Ontario.

Mr. Morden played an important part in the reform of judicial procedure in Ontario. In 1974, he became a member of the Rules Committee (latterly, the Civil Rules Committee), and remained on this committee until 1999. From 1975 to 1983, he sat on the Statutory Powers Procedure Rules Committee. He also chaired the Special Sub-Committee of the Rules Committee which prepared the Rules of Civil Procedure for Ontario (1980-84); the Civil Rules Committee (1990-99); and the Criminal Rules Committee (1990-99).

He served as a special lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto in 1965 and returned to the Faculty as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Advanced Civil Procedure for the period 1999 to 2004.

He has, over the past 45 years, published articles on legal subjects in various periodicals such as the Canadian Bar Review, the Law Society Gazette, The Advocates’ Quarterly and The Advocates’ Society Journal.

Mr. Morden is an Elder at the Rosedale Presbyterian Church in Toronto and an Honorary Director of Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, a non-profit organization helping victims of cancer.