Ontario Newsroom

The Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham, Q.C.

Archived Backgrounder

The Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham, Q.C.

The Honourable John Douglas Cunningham, QC, the former Associate Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, is known for his outstanding advocacy skills, judgment and passion for the law. He has presided over hundreds of cases as a trial judge and has conducted countless mediation cases. His record of success is well known across the legal community.

Throughout his judicial career, Justice Cunningham has been called upon to hear serious civil and criminal litigation matters and to mediate high stakes cases. He has led high-profile and contentious reviews, including, as Commissioner, the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry, and last year's review of Ontario's auto insurance dispute resolution system. 

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Justice Cunningham was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1969 after receiving an LLB from Queen's University Law School. Justice Cunningham is a former partner in the law firm of Cunningham, Swan, in Kingston, where he practiced in the area of civil litigation. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1980.

In 1991, he was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court. He served as president of the Ontario Superior Court Judges' Association from April 1999 until 2000, when he was appointed Regional Senior Judge of the Superior Court of Justice for the East Region.

He was appointed to the Pension Appeals Board in 1999 and to the Court Martial Appeals Court in 2010. On December 12, 2002, Justice Cunningham was appointed Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice. 

As a member of the Canadian Judicial Council, he served as a member on the Executive Committee and chaired the Administration of Justice Committee.

On September 30, 2012, Justice Cunningham retired from the Superior Court of Justice and began his private mediation and arbitration practice at Neeson Arbitration Chambers, which has evolved into Amicus Chambers. As of January 2017, he joined Arbitration Place as a resident arbitrator/mediator.

Highlights of Justice Cunningham's achievements include: 

  • BA - University of Western Ontario
  • LLB - Queen's University Law School
  • Queen's Counsel - appointed in 1980
  • Specialist in Civil Litigation - designated by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1990
  • Completed Cornell and Harvard University Mediation Programmes
  • Received Honourary LL.D from the Law Society of Upper Canada, June 18, 2013.
  • Completed a Review of the Ontario automobile insurance dispute resolution system for the Minister of Finance. Final report delivered in February 2014

Media Contacts



Business and Economy Government Home and Community Jobs and Employment Rural and North Aboriginal People Consumers Francophones Newcomers Parents People with Disabilities Seniors Women