Justice M. Clare MacLellan

The Honourable Mary Clare MacLellan was born in Glace Bay, N.S., on Sept. 8, 1951, and was raised in Edwardsville and Ben Eoin, Cape Breton. Justice MacLellan obtained her BA (major) from St. Francis Xavier University in 1973 and her Law Degree from Dalhousie University in 1976.

Prior to joining the Bench, Justice MacLellan worked for Nova Scotia Legal Aid, from 1977 to 1981, and then spent four years with the Law Reform Commission and Justice Canada, focusing on criminal policy in Ottawa. In that position, Justice MacLellan worked with a group that recommended changes to the Criminal Code in the areas of child abuse, sexual abuse, child pornography and prostitution.

From 1985 to 1995, Justice MacLellan returned to Nova Scotia to practice in the private sector, where she worked in various fields including criminal law, personal injury law, administrative law and family law. For the seven years prior to her appointment, her emphasis was in family law, serving as counsel for the Childrens’ Aid Society, working with children in need of protection. 

During her years in practice, Justice MacLellan taught Canadian Business Law and Criminal Law Enforcement to peace officers. She has been a guest lecturer at numerous graduations and career days, as well as teaching sessions with specific interest groups. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice MacLellan fundraised for numerous agencies, including ones dedicated to arthritis, cancer and diabetes research. 

During her almost 23 years on the bench, Justice MacLellan focused primarily on family law issues. Her first four years as a judge were on the Nova Scotia Family Court, and on March 30, 1999, she was appointed to the Supreme Court (Family Division), where she remained until she retired.

Starting in 2011, and continuing into her retirement, Justice MacLellan has been committed to improving the lives of First Nations children involved in protection proceedings. She is currently involved in fundraising with Dalhousie University for the Donald Marshall Scholarship Fund and the Bourget Foundation to improve the affordability of sound medical treatment to children in Benin Africa. 

Justice MacLellan, from everyone in the Judiciary and the Nova Scotia Courts, we wish you all the best in your retirement years!