The Honourable Colin McKinnon, K.C. was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1996. During his almost 23 years as a trial judge he presided over thousands of cases, both jury and non-jury, including corporate and commercial matters, professional liability, construction, critical injury and insurance, employment, product liability, wrongful dismissal, boundary disputes, medical malpractice, interpretation of wills and estates. He sat regularly in the Divisional Court of Appeal hearing appeals in civil matters and from administrative tribunals. He was also invited to sit as an ‘ad hoc’ member of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Mr. McKinnon is a member of the Canadian Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.
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Prior to his almost 23 years on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Mr. McKinnon practiced law as a trial lawyer, and was certified as a Specialist in both Civil Litigation and Criminal Law, one of approximately 40 lawyers in Ontario to hold both certificates. He appeared as counsel at every level of court in Canada, including numerous administrative tribunals, the Canada and Ontario Labour Boards, and was counsel to numerous Police Service Boards in Ontario. For two years he served a Commission Counsel in an Inquiry into RCMP activities (the “Cogger Inquiry”).
Mr. McKinnon served as President of the County of Carleton Law Association, was chair of the County and District Law Presidents Association and was a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario for eight years. He served as President of the Ontario Superior Court Judges Association. For eight years he was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa Law School, teaching Trial Advocacy, Ethics and Evidence. While on the court, Mr. McKinnon was a member of the Chief Justice’s Education Committee for six years.
Since his appointment to the court in 1996 up until his retirement in late 2018 Mr. McKinnon was one of a small handful of designated judges in the City of Ottawa authorized to approve Infant Settlements. In that capacity he dealt with hundreds of cases involving serious personal injury, including medical malpractice cases, with the responsibility of determining whether the proposed settlements were in the best interests of the affected minors.
Over his career, Mr. McKinnon has tried thousands of cases, and as a judge regularly sat on the Divisional Court of Appeal, hearing civil and administrative law appeals. He was also invited to sit on the Court of Appeal as an ‘ad hoc’ judge. Mr. McKinnon is renowned for his ability to grasp issues quickly, listen politely, treat counsel and witnesses with respect, focus on the big picture and render judgments in a timely manner. He is regarded as an expert in the law of evidence. Mr. McKinnon has presided over many high-profile criminal cases, including charges of homicide, terrorism and commercial fraud. He has proven to be extremely adept at settling cases. He has heard, settled and decided cases on a myriad of subjects, including commercial disputes, breach of contract, personal injury, medical malpractice, professional liability, construction, wrongful dismissal and insurance claims, interpretation of wills, boundary disputes, family law and estate litigation. Mr. McKinnon recently completed a two year review of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Minister of Justice for that province, inquiring into whether the Service had fulfilled its disclosure obligations in 16 cases, including 14 homicides, involving the evidence of a medical examiner. Mr. McKinnon is a member of the Canadian Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.