03/22/2016 05:42 EDT | Updated 03/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell To Retire In September

Thomas Cromwell was named to the Supreme Court in 2008.


OTTAWA — Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell is retiring Sept. 1, setting the stage for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first appointment to the high court.

Cromwell, 63, was named to the Supreme Court in 2008, after serving 11 years on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin lauded Cromwell's contributions Tuesday, saying colleagues have always benefited from his wisdom, rigour and friendship.

"Outside the court, Justice Cromwell's tireless efforts to increase access to justice will continue to benefit Canadians long after his retirement from the bench,'' she said. "We will miss him greatly.''

Cromwell, born in Kingston, Ont., said that as his time as a judge draws to a close, he believes more firmly than ever that an independent and effective judiciary is a cornerstone of democracy.

"Being a judge is both a great privilege and an onerous responsibility,'' he said. "I will always be grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to serve Canada in this capacity."

Under the rules, a departing Supreme Court judge may, for up to six months after retiring, take part in judgments on cases that they have heard.

Before joining the Nova Scotia appeal court, Cromwell worked as executive legal officer to then-Supreme Court chief justice Antonio Lamer from 1992 to 1995. His duties included briefing the media on the intricacies of rulings.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper appointed seven of the high court's nine judges, including Cromwell.