About This Book

The book provides a glimpse behind the actions and decisions of a man whose professional life has affected all Canadians; a look at his origins, family life and the forces that shaped the man who in turn helped shape our lives.

This biography began through an ongoing curiosity about my maternal grandfather, Patrick Grandcourt Kerwin. From my perspective as a child, he was a kind and attentive grandparent with a warm smile and gentle demeanour.

My grandfather died at the age of 73, when I was only eight years old, but my memories, affection and interest in him continued.

This is his story.

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

is as true today as it ever was.
Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin speaking at the opening of the Superior Court of Québec Montreal, Québec, 1957.

Canada Today Has a Legal System

in which its people could take great satisfaction. Law is not an exact science, but no stone would be left unturned that could possibly interfere with the best possible determination of the rights of man.
Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin as quoted by the Sarnia Daily Observer, October 25, 1957

Courts are Established to Settle Disputes.

Justice Patrick Kerwin in an address to graduating students, Osgoode Hall, Toronto, 1950.

Students of Law Must be Taught

not merely what the professor knows, but they must be trained to think for themselves.

Address by the Chief Justice at the University of New Brunswick – Honourary Degree of Laws, Saint John, October 15, 1954


Listen to Interview on CBC Radio:

Here is a link to an interview about the book with Giacomo Panico on the CBC Radio program, In Town and Out.

Link to article in Supreme Advocacy

Link to Blackburn Radio in Sarnia

Link to interviews:

Ottawa South Community Voice (p.2)

Sarnia &Lambton County This Week:

Beach Metro Community News
The Beaches Toronto

Books are available on this website and at the following bookstores in Ottawa and elsewhere:

Books on Beechwood
Octopus Books
Prospero Books
Perfect Books
The Book Keeper (Sarnia)
Book City Danforth (Toronto)
Book City Beaches (Toronto)
Old Niagara Book Shop (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
The Bookshelf (Guelph)
Wordsworth Book (Waterloo)
Shelf Life Books (Calgary)

Send review of the book to contact@chiefjusticekerwin.ca.

Link to REVIEW in

Link to Article in Guelph Mercury


Stephen G. McKenna

The author of this biography undertook the task ensuring his grandfather’s story was captured for posterity.

Having contributed articles to the media about his grandfather, Stephen continues to tell the story of a great Canadian in this book: Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin, a person who dedicated much of his life to the service of all Canadians.

The tale is told about his maternal grandfather’s career and the life he lived with his family as he climbed to the pinnacle of his profession. Stephen has also brought the personal side of his storied life by including family anecdotes and pictures never before seen in public.
With other stories to be told, Stephen will be publishing more of his work in the near future. As an author, musician and producer living in Ottawa, Ontario, he has numerous interests, including writing, music, recording, research, and travel.



Grace & Wisdom in the media

A truly enjoyable read for the general public and law students alike. As an immigrant to Canada, Stephen perked my interest with the family history of Great Lakes Ship Captains' and the importance of the St. Lawrence in commerce in the building of this country.  
The story of a man of humble beginnings who in his early family days played piano (secretly) at 'silent movie' shows in order to make ends meet.
Deals with the essential creation of Canada’s legal system and the large role Patrick Kerwin played in it.  At just 23 he was a full-named Partner and at 55 Chief Justice of Canada.  
"...it must be remembered that the law is a jealous mistress and demands of you, and all her devotees, an assiduous devotion to her cause. The common law is not static but develops from era to era...but that changing circumstances require you to seek to apply those principals to altered conditions...." Address to Students, Osgood Hall, Toronto, June 29, 1950. 
R. Britton, Ottawa

To read recent articles about CJ Kerwin, please select the following links
SL stands for Canada's online Legal Magazine, SLAW