Thomas is an active disputes mediator and arbitrator, particularly in complex commercial and public sector mediations. He provides strategic advice to members of the firm and to other firms on some of the most high-profile and precedent-setting cases before the courts across Canada including the Supreme Court and the courts of Appeal in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. He frequently gives advice on applications for leave to appeal and conducts “mock hearings” as part of the preparation for court appearances at all levels of court. He has conducted high-profile independent reviews including the Governance Review of Hockey Canada.
His contribution to the legal community and society as whole has been widely recognized and he has received numerous awards, including his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest honour of the Order of Canada in December 2017, recognizing him as one of Canada’s most important voices on enhancing access to justice.
Thomas sat on the Supreme Court of Canada from December 2008 to September 2016 and on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2008. From 2008 until 2018, he chaired the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was executive legal officer to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer from 1992 to 1995. Thomas also taught law at Dalhousie University and was active as a labour arbitrator. He began his career practising law in Kingston and Toronto.