Picture of John McKiggan Q.C.

John McKiggan Q.C.

Listed in Best Lawyerslexpert

John dedicates his practice exclusively to representing persons who have suffered an injury or loss as a result of medical malpractice, car and truck accidents(or other serious personal injury claims) and institutional liability. He has a special interest in representing victims in civil claims for childhood sexual abuse compensation claims.

John's colleagues honoured his efforts and experience by electing him President of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association.

John has been appointed Queen's Counsel (Q.C.), a designation used to recognize Canadian lawyers for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession.

John was nominated for an award for exemplary journalism covering issues related to the sexual exploitation of children by Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada, a national non-profit organization that advances the rights of children to be free from sexual exploitation, for his article published in The Lawyers Weekly: The Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse: Is the Church's response real action or window dressing?

John has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada® 2012 in the field of Personal Injury Law. Best Lawyers has been called "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."

John has been included in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Guide and named as a local litigation star by Benchmark Litigation Canada. John is particularly proud of the fact that McKiggan Hebert Lawyers was nominated by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms in Canada.

Because Best Lawyers, the Lexpert Guide and Benchmark Litigation are based on an exhaustive peer-review survey, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed in these directories, inclusion in the Guides is considered a singular honour.

Notable Claims:

John represents over 500 former residents of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School in a claim for compensation for childhood physical, sexual and racial abuse and loss of cultural identity.

He sits on the steering committee of the National Class Action, Baxter vs. Canada - a claim brought on behalf of 70,000 aboriginal children across Canada.

John is class counsel in Martin v Lahey the first class action under Nova Scotia's Class Proceedings Act, a $15 million dollar class action claim against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish for compensation for survivors of sexual abuse by priests of the Diocese.

The landmark decision in the Martin v. Lahey case landed John on the cover of Canadian Lawyer magazine. John was interviewed by Linden MacIntyre as part of the 5th Estate's documentary Betrayal about the sexual abuse claims in the Antigonish Diocese.

John has successfully argued cases before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the Ontario Superior Court and various administrative tribunals including the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.


John is the author of several books he wrote as legal education resources to help teach the public about their legal rights :

The Consumer's Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Get a Penny in Compensation ;

Crash Course: The Consumer's Guide to Car Accident Claims in Nova Scotia  ;

Breaking the Silence:
The Survivor's Guide to Sexual Abuse Claims ; 

Brain Matter: The Survivor's Guide to Brain Injury Claims. and

After the Error: Speaking out about patient safety to save lives
(Contributing author)

Other Public Legal Education Publications:

John writes frequently for Lawyers Weekly magazine. He also publishes several blogs to discussing news, legal issues and new developments in his areas of practice including:

Halifax Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog;

Halifax Personal Injury Lawyer Blog;

Sexual Abuse Claims Blog;  and

The Atlantice Canada Legal Examiner

Lectures, Articles, and Presentations:

John has written and lectured extensively throughout the world about personal injury claims, sexual abuse claims, medical malpractice, class actions, trial advocacy and institutional liability.

2016    Medical Legal Causation: A Lawyers View
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2015    Ethical Challenges in Civil Trial Practice
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association

2015    Everything I know about Cross Examination I learned from watching Western Movies
            New Jersey Association for Justice

2015    Standard of Care in Obstetric Malpractice Cases
            OTLA Medical Malpractice Conference

2015    NS Minor Injury Cap: Current State of Affairs
            Canadian Bar Association Solo-Small Firm Subsection

2014    Mediation Advocacy
            The Advocates Society

2013    Standard of Care in Obstetric Malpractice cases
            Toronto Birth Trauma Litigation Conference

2013    Psychological Injuries: Strategies and Damages
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2012    Certifying the Class: Motions and the Evidentiary Threshold
            in Certification
            Schulich School of Law Atlantic Class Action Symposium

2012    The Full Monty: Safeguarding Your Clients Privacy
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2012    Disclosure and Protection of Client Medical Records
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2012    Trial Advocacy
            (with The Hon. Chief Justice Green and The Hon. Justice Hoegg)
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2012    Sports and Scouts at Risk of Liabilty
            The Lawyers Weekly

2011    Learn the Rules to have a Ball with the Reptile
           (Essential Tools for Trial Lawyers)
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association
           10th Anniversary Conference of Presidents

2011    The Catholic Churches Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis:
            Action or  Window Dressing? The Lawyers Weekly.

2011    Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice: Recent Developments.
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2011     Cross Examination of Experts
             The Canadian Bar Association Professional Development Conference

2010    Top 10 Canadian Class Actions Decisions of the Past Year
            Osgoode Hall National Symposium on Class Actions

2010    Class Actions as a Tool to Resolve Sexual Abuse Claims
            The Canadian Institute, Toronto

2010    "Is it Safe to say You're Sorry?" A review of apology legislation
             The Canadian Institute, Toronto

2009    Class Proceedings in the Maritimes
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2009     The Ins and Outs of Nova Scotia's Class Action Legislation.
             The Canadian Institute, Toronto

2009    Does the Cap Fit? Nova Scotia's Minor Injury Cap:    
            Canadian Insurance Magazine

2008    Class Action Litigation, Atlantic Canadian Update.
            The Canadian Institute, Toronto

2008     Diagnostic AMF: The Altered Medical File Syndrome.
             Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association
2008    Playing at the National Stage: Pitfalls and Success.
            Nova Scotia Barrister's Society Class Action Conference

2008     The Fully Monty: How to Safe Guard your Client's Privacy.
             Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2007    Using the Courts to Address Historical Wrongs.
            International Bar Association Annual Conference: Singapore

2006    Chair Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association:
            Experts: From Retainer to Trial

2006    Co-Chair Atlantic Province Trial Lawyers Association:
            Brain Injury Litigation

2006    Shielding the Plaintiff's File: Protecting Privileged Documents
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2006    If the Cap Fits: Strategies for Representing Injured Victims.
            C.B.A. Annual Professional Development Conference

2003    Representative Proceedings the Trend to Statutory Class Actions
2003    Screening the Medical Malpractice Case: Practical Considerations,
            Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association

2001    Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Plaintiff's
            The Canadian Institute: Institutional Liability for Sexual Assault and

1999    Recent Developments in Vicarious Liability for Sexual Abuse,
            C.B.A. Annual Professional Development Conference

1997    The Challenge of Representing Multiple Plaintiffs: 
           C.B.A.: The Well Functioning Tribunal  

Personal Interests

When he is not helping his clients, John enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering as the Chair of Kids and Cars Canada, volunteering for the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, volunteering with EndDD.org doing presentations to teens about the dangers of distracted driving, serving as Chair of the School Advisory Committee of his sons' school, organizing 18 Holes for Hope a major fundraiser for BIANS and performing magic for the Sunday School at his church, his sons' school and the local Children's Hospital.


LLB, Dalhousie University, 1989

B.Sc., Dalhousie University, 1986

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice Nova Scotia
Professional & Bar Association Memberships

Nova Scotia Barristers Society
Member Since: 1990

Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association
Member Since: 2000

Canadian Bar Association
Member Since: 1990

American Association for Justice
Member Since: 2005

Featured Cases and Matters

Martin v. Lahey

John represented Ronald Martin in a claim against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish for compensation for survivors of sexual abuse by priests of the Diocese. The claim was the first class action filed in Nova Scotia and the first successful class action against the Roman Catholic Church.

The class action, worth in excess of $15 million dollars, allows survivors of sexual abuse by priests to have their claims validated and paid in a respectful and confidential process.

Bernard v. Canada

A representative class action filed by Nora Bernard against Canada on behalf of former residents of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. This was the first class action filed against Canada regarding residential schools and first class action to seek compensation for loss of language and culture.

John was part of the steering committee that negoatiated the resolution of the $5 billion dollar  National Indian Residential Schools class action settlement for 70,000 survivors of Residential schools across Canada.

Paul v. Mahmoud et al

Medical malpractice claim filed on behalf of Davey Aaron Paul against Dr. A. Mahmoud, Dr. A. Joshi and the G.L. Dumont Hospital. Davey, a 3 ½ year old child, suffered brain damage while having his cavities filled at the G.L. Dumont Hospital.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s bench approved an infant settlement of $2,880,000.00

A Trusted Source of Legal Information

John McKiggan has been featured or interviewed in news reports by these local and national news sources:

CTV Global TV CBC News' The Fifth Estate The Globe And Mail 570 News Blackburn Radio Canadian Lawyer Cape Breton Post CBC Radio Canada Canadian Insurance 98.1 Free FM Global National The Chronicle Herald National Post The Lawyers Weekly Times And Transcript The Yarmouth County Vanguard