- Personal Injury
- Car and Truck Accident Claims
- Birth Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury Claims
- Medical Malpractice
- Brain Injury
- Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims
- Insurance Claims
- Class Actions
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 survivors in civil claims for childhood sexual abuse compensation claims.
John was plaintiff’s counsel in the two largest reported personal injury settlements in Nova Scotia: Chisholm v Ball et al ($6 million) and Rankin v Joshi et al ($5.8 million).
John is particularly proud of the fact that he and the team at McKiggan Hebert were named one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine. McKiggan Hebert was the only firm in Atlantic Canada to receive this prestigious recognition.
John’s colleagues have honoured his efforts and experience by electing him President of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer 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 is a founding member of the Birth Injury Lawyer Alliance of Canada (BILA). BILA was formed in 2016 by a group of lawyers from across Canada who largely dedicate their professional lives to representing children and families who have suffered avoidable birth injuries.
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 Lawyer Weekly: The Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse: Is the Church’s response real action or window dressing?
John has regularly been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyer in Canada® in the field of Personal Injury Law. In 2022, he was named Lawyer of the Year in the field of personal injury litigation. Best Lawyer has been called “the most respected referral list of attorney in practice.”
John has been included in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Guide and named as a local litigation star by Benchmark Litigation Canada.
Because Best Lawyer, 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.
John was plaintiff’s counsel in the two largest reported personal injury settlements in Nova Scotia: Chisholm v Ball et al ($6 million) and Rankin v Joshi et al ($5.8 million). Both matters involved children who suffered cerebral palsy as a result of birth trauma and involved the presentation of complex medical evidence and expert evidence on the unique needs facing catastrophically injured children.
John is co-counsel in Satalic et al v. Her Majesty the Queen a national class action brought in the Federal Court on behalf of current and former LGBTQ employees of the Canadian Armed Forces, Department of National Defence, and Government of Canada.
John is class counsel in Hayes v. City of Saint John a class action certified against the city of Saint John New Brunswick on behalf of 150 survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Kenneth Estabrooks, a police officer employed by the city.
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 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 v. Canada – a claim brought on behalf of 70,000 aboriginal children across Canada.
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
- After the Error: Speaking out about patient safety to save lives (contributing author)
- Birth Injury Lawsuits: A Parent’s Guide (contributing author)
Other Public Legal Education Publications
John writes frequently for Lawyer Weekly magazine and the Atlantic Canada Legal Examiner.
He also publishes several blogs to discussing news, legal issues, and new developments in his areas of practice including:
Lectures, Articles, & 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.
- Examination of Medical Witnesses (Tips for discovery and trial) – Canadian Bar Association NB Annual meeting
- Quantifying Damages in Catastrophic Injury Claims – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Do Ask, Do Tell, Do Justice: Pursuing Justice for LGBTQ Military Veterans – Harvard University Ideas-In-Action Summit
- The Clint Eastwood Cross: Lessons in cross examination from an American icon – New Jersey Association for Justice
- Medical vs. Legal Causation: A Lawyer View – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Ethical Challenges in Civil Trial Practice – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Everything I know about Cross Examination I learned from watching Western Movies – New Jersey Association for Justice
- Standard of Care in Obstetric Malpractice Cases – OTLA Medical Malpractice Conference
- NS Minor Injury Cap: Current State of Affairs – Canadian Bar Association Solo-Small Firm Subsection
- Mediation Advocacy – The Advocates Society
- Standard of Care in Obstetric Malpractice cases – Toronto Birth Trauma Litigation Conference
- Psychological Injuries: Strategies and Damages – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Certifying the Class: Motions and the Evidentiary Threshold in Certification – Schulich School of Law Atlantic Class Action Symposium
- The Full Monty: Safeguarding Your Clients Privacy – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Disclosure and Protection of Client Medical Records – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Trial Advocacy (with The Hon. Chief Justice Green and The Hon. Justice Hoegg) – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Sports and Scouts at Risk of Liability – The Lawyer Weekly
- Learn the Rules to have a Ball with the Reptile (Essential Tools for Trial Lawyer) – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association, 10th Anniversary Conference of Presidents
- The Catholic Churches Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis:
Action or Window Dressing? The Lawyer Weekly
- Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice: Recent Developments – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Cross Examination of Experts – The Canadian Bar Association Professional Development Conference
- Top 10 Canadian Class Actions Decisions of the Past Year – Osgoode Hall National Symposium on Class Actions
- Class Actions as a Tool to Resolve Sexual Abuse Claims – The Canadian Institute, Toronto
- “Is it Safe to say You’re Sorry?” A review of apology legislation – The Canadian Institute, Toronto
- Class Proceedings in the Maritimes – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- The Ins and Outs of Nova Scotia’s Class Action Legislation – The Canadian Institute, Toronto
- Does the Cap Fit? Nova Scotia’s Minor Injury Cap – Canadian Insurance Magazine
- Class Action Litigation, Atlantic Canadian Update – The Canadian Institute, Toronto
- Diagnostic AMF: The Altered Medical File Syndrome – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Playing at the National Stage: Pitfalls and Success – Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society Class Action Conference
- The Fully Monty: How to Safe Guard your Client’s Privacy – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Using the Courts to Address Historical Wrongs – International Bar Association Annual Conference: Singapore
- Chair Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association:Experts: From Retainer to Trial
- Co-Chair Atlantic Province Trial Lawyer Association: Brain Injury Litigation
- Shielding the Plaintiff’s File: Protecting Privileged Documents – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- If the Cap Fits: Strategies for Representing Injured Victims – C.B.A. Annual Professional Development Conference
- Representative Proceedings the Trend to Statutory Class Actions
- Screening the Medical Malpractice Case: Practical Considerations, – Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyer Association
- Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Plaintiff’s Perspective – The Canadian Institute: Institutional Liability for Sexual Assault and Abuse
- Recent Developments in Vicarious Liability for Sexual Abuse – C.B.A. Annual Professional Development Conference
- The Challenge of Representing Multiple Plaintiffs: The Well Functioning Tribunal – C.B.A.
When he is not helping his clients, John enjoys spending time with his family at the family cottage in Prince Edward Island, serving on the Board of Cerebral Palsy Nova Scotia, volunteering as the Chair of Kids and Cars Canada, and volunteering for the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia (John spent many years on the Board as well as the organizing committee of 18 Holes for Hope, a major fundraiser for BIANS). John has volunteered with EndDD.org doing presentations to teens about the dangers of distracted driving. When he’s looking for some fun, John takes their Doodle Molly for a run in the park or volunteers performing magic for the Sunday School at his church, his neighborhood school and block party, 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 Lawyer Association
Member Since: 2000
American Association for Justice
Member Since: 2005
Featured Cases & 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 negotiated 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 1/2 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.
A Trusted Source of Legal Information
John McKiggan has been featured or interviewed in news reports by these local and national news sources: