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Public service a way of life for 2017 Cromwell Award winner 

(May 8, 2017)

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, Law’76, LLD’10, award winner Justice Mark Peacock, Law’74, and Dean Bill Flanagan, at an alumni reception on April 24 in Montreal’s Palais de justice.
The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, Law’76, LLD’10, award winner Justice Mark Peacock, Law’74, and Dean Bill Flanagan, at an alumni reception on April 24 in Montreal’s Palais de justice.(Photo by Viki Andrevska)

They say our patterns of behaviour develop early in life. If that’s really so, it seems a safe bet that no one better personifies the truth of that adage than does Justice Mark Peacock, Law’74.

The 2017 winner of the Justice Thomas Cromwell Distinguished Public Service Award, is renowned both for his distinguished record as a jurist and for his selfless dedication to public service. “That wasn’t something required in my family, but rather it was something you just did,” Peacock recalled in his remarks at the April 24 Queen’s Law reception in Montreal where he accepted his award.  

Both of his parents practised what they preached, proudly serving in the Canadian military during WWII and being actively engaged in their community. Peacock has followed his parents’ example, albeit in non-military ways.

After attending Queen’s, he earned an LLM at London School of Economics and an LLL at Laval University. He then practised law in Montreal for 25 years, until his 2007 appointment as the first Queen’s Law alumnus ever named to the Quebec Superior Court. While in private practice, he was a member of the Dean’s Council at Queen’s Law, involved himself in Law’74 fundraising activities, and supported his alma mater in ways that continue to this day.    

A former president of the CBA’s Quebec Branch and chair of the CBA’s National Civil Litigation section, Peacock was the 2002 recipient of the Louis St. Laurent Award of Excellence for exceptional service to the CBA. In addition – among a great many other professional involvements – he has taught at the University of Ottawa’s law school and has served on the Language Rights Committee of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. 

From 1989 to 1991, Peacock was a member of the CBA’s Task Force on Court Reform. It was in this capacity that he met and became a friend of then-future Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell, Law’76, LLD’10 (Mus’73). 

Cromwell, who retired from the high court last fall, was on hand in Montreal to present Peacock with his Queen’s Law award. “Mark has a long and distinguished career of public service, both to the legal profession and to the wider community,” Cromwell noted. “And there’s no bigger enthusiast for Queen’s Law.”

Peacock, who was “gratified and honoured to receive” the Cromwell Award, humbly insisted the honour also belongs to his wife, their two children, and colleagues fom the Bench and Bar with whom he worked on numerous committees.   

Addressing the next generation of Queen’s Law grads, Peacock said, “It is my sincere hope that through your public service, you will ensure Canada remains a beacon for the rule of law and justice for all.”

By Ken Cuthbertson