Cowan Internship Program

Advertised in January, the Cowan Internship Program supports an annual summer internship at the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. It is for students who are enrolled in the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University and are working towards a Bachelor of Laws degree. The successful candidate is typically chosen by two judges of the Court of Appeal. 
The internship is named in honour of The Hon. Gordon Stewart Cowan, a former Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and a distinguished graduate of Dalhousie Law School.

How the Program Works

The student selected will serve the internship during the summer, following the student's second year in law school. The intern will work under the direction of the Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal or his designate. The intern's research project will be assigned by the Chief Justice from the recommendations submitted by the Justices of the Court of Appeal. In appropriate circumstances, the Chief Justice may also consider projects submitted by Justices of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. The assignments will focus on legal issues outside of normal caseload, which are determined to be of current or future interest to the Courts.

The Gordon Stewart Cowan Internship will be advertised in January of each year. Recipients are chosen, upon application, by a committee comprised of the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia or their designate, the Dean and the Associate Dean-Academic of the Schulich School of Law.

Former Chief Justice Gordon S. Cowan

The Hon. Gordon S. Cowan was born in St. John’s, Nfld., in 1911. He attended what is now known as Memorial University and then Dalhousie Law School. He graduated from Dal as the gold medalist in 1932 and was admitted to the Bar of Nova Scotia. The following year, he went on to Oxford University as Newfoundland’s Rhodes Scholar and graduated from Oxford with First Class Honours in Jurisprudence. 

Gordon Cowan lectured in Law at Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba before entering private practice in Halifax in 1941 with what is now the law firm of Stewart McKelvey. He became a partner in that firm in 1943. 

Appointed a Judge of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in 1966, he became Chief Justice of the Trial Division in 1967 and served in that position until his retirement in 1981. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1985 in recognition of his work in preparing Nova Scotia’s Judicature Act and the establishment of the Canadian Judicial Council.

The former Chief Justice passed away at his home in Halifax on June 11, 1988.