KENTVILLE, NS - A well-known and respected Canning defence lawyer has been officially robed as Nova Scotia’s newest provincial and family court judge.
Although he was appointed in June, an official robing ceremony was held for Judge Christopher Manning in a Kentville courtroom on Sept. 7. The court was filled to capacity with Manning’s friends and family members, fellow judges, dignitaries and other associates.
Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald oversaw Manning’s swearing of the oath and presented the new judge with his robe. The event featured remarks from several dignitaries, including MacDonald; Chief Judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia Pamela Williams and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Mark Furey. An address was given by Manning’s long-time friend, associate and Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer Roger Burrill.
“I certainly expected worse from Roger,” Manning said following Burrill’s address, resulting in laughter from the gathering. “I’m sure he’s got stories he’s keeping for a more appropriate moment.”
Manning extended thanks to every person in attendance. He said he received a call about three months ago that basically changed his life from that point forward, a call that triggered “an absolute whirlwind of emotion.” He said he is incredibly honoured to be appointed to the court and he recognizes what a great privilege it is.
“The importance and the impact of the appointment has been brought home for me by the reaction that I have received in the form of phone calls, emails, discussions on the street corners, letters, cards, and there’s just been an outpouring of support from family, friends, professional associates and former clients,” the new judge said.
While he is filled with excitement and appreciation for the opportunity, he’s humbled by the importance of it and by the responsibility that it carries. Manning said he would strive to fulfill the oath he has taken every day as a judge.
He said he’s astounded by the warmth of the welcome and the guidance that he has received as a new judge from the Nova Scotia judiciary. Manning gave special thanks to two local judges who are now per diem judges, Judge Alan Tufts and Judge Claudine MacDonald. He appeared before them as a defence lawyer on a regular basis for 20 years.
“They’ve been unfailingly courteous, wise and hard working,” Manning said, pointing out that he and Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek would have “some large shoes to fill” taking Tufts’ and MacDonald’s spots.
Manning thanked his family and friends – including wife Lynn and children Paul, Christine and Ian – for providing his life with balance. He said his greatest appreciation goes to his family for their love, support and for giving him so many reasons to be proud.
He also extended thanks to the lawyers who were his colleagues for more than three decades, to his former clients, to the sheriffs and to the staff of the Nova Scotia Courts, especially those working in Kentville.
“This is certainly one of the most memorable days of my life, and thank you one and all for making this day so very special,” Manning said.
About Christopher Manning
Manning, who was born in Northampton, England, immigrated to Canada in 1968 and graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1984. He was called to the Bar in August 1985 and went on to practice law for 33 years. He has held offices in several professional societies and has had a distinguished community career as a volunteer coach, arbitrator, advisor and the member of several boards.
Manning spent his early career as a criminal defence lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, later joining a small private firm and eventually opening his own practice, Manning and Associates. Beginning in 1991, he also worked as a per diem Crown attorney.
What they said
“He’s noted for being fair and courteous, respectful, hardworking, a formidable advocate but also humble and compassionate.” – Chief Judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia Pamela Williams
“It’s worthy to note that his community contributions have been above and beyond his legal contribution.” – Minister of Justice and Attorney General Mark Furey
“(Manning is) the most successful criminal lawyer here and I’m quite prepared to say without reservation the number-one criminal practitioner in the province in my mind, without question.” – Long-time Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer Roger Burrill
“You have, I think, the perfect foundation to be a judge, and I say that based upon three aspects, three broad aspects: your experience with legal aid, your experience as a defence counsel and your experience as a per diem Crown attorney.” – Chief Justice of Nova Scotia Michael MacDonald