Pierre-Basile Mignault

Pierre-Basile Mignault (September 30, 1854 October 15, 1945) was a Canadian lawyer and Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Pierre-Basile Mignault
Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
In office
October 25, 1918  September 30, 1929
Nominated byRobert Borden
Preceded byLouis Henry Davies
Succeeded byLawrence Arthur Dumoulin Cannon
Personal details
Born(1854-09-30)September 30, 1854
Worcester, Massachusetts
DiedOctober 15, 1945(1945-10-15) (aged 91)
Montreal, Quebec

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Pierre-Basile Mignault and Catherine O'Callaghan, he received a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from McGill University in 1878. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1878. He then proceeded to practice law in Montreal.

His Droit civil canadien, a nine-volume work on Québec’s civil law published during 1885–1916, and its relation to the French tradition, continues to be cited by the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

As a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada during 1918–1929, Mignault also had a key role in countering a long-standing centralising tendency in Canadian private law, and in increasing the Court’s sensitivity to the subtleties of Québec’s legal tradition. Mignault saw Québec private law as “surtout fille de la France coutumière” (particularly the heir of French pre-revolutionary customary law), yet also a meeting place for a diversity of philosophical and cultural approaches.[1]

He is buried in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery. Parc Mignault in Montreal is named in his honour.

Further reading

  • David Howes (1987). "From Polyjurality to Monojurality: The Transformation of Quebec Law, 1875–1929" (PDF). McGill Law Journal. McGill Law School. 32: 523–558.
  • Marin, Armand (1943). L’honorable Pierre-Basile Mignault. Montréal: Fides.

See also


  1. Mignault, Pierre-Basile. "Le Code Civil au Canada". Le Code Civil 1804-1904 : Livre du Centenaire. 2. Paris: Arthur Rousseau. p. 725.
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