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Honourable Robert Wells, Q.C


Honourable Robert Wells graduated from Memorial University with a BA. in 1953 and was named Rhodes Scholar from Newfoundland in that year.  Graduated from Oxford University in 1956 and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1958 and the Bar of Newfoundland in 1959. Work history and various roles provincially and nationally are as follows:

  • Newfoundland Department of Justice, 1959-1962 (Legal Assistant to the Attorney General).
  • Private Practice of Law, 1963-1986.
  • Queen’s Counsel, 1972.
  • President, Law Society of Newfoundland, 1977-1981.
  • Member, House of Assembly, 1972-1979.
  • Minister of Health and Government House Leader, 1975-1976.
  • Chancellor, Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, 1979-1984.
  • Chairman of the Board, Janeway Child Health Centre, 1977-1987.
  • National President of Canadian Bar Association, 1985-1986.
  • Justice, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division, 1986-2008.
  • Past President, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.
  • Past President, International Commission of Jurists (Canadian Section).
  • Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the Benchers of The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador for service to the law, 2002.
  • Former Chair, Canadian Bar Association Committee on Human Rights for Developing Countries. Conferences and meetings with Officials, Judges and Lawyers in Kenya, China, India and Cameroon on human rights and legal issues.
  • Former Member, International Bar Association Committee on Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
  • Chair, Judicial Council of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, (8years).
  • Member representing the Atlantic Provinces on the National Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, (3 years).
  • Chair of the Provincial Criminal Justice Committee from the Inception of the Committee to present date, (4 years).
  • First person in Canada to be awarded Honorary Membership in the Canadian Police Association ,1970.
  • Did extensive work in dispute resolution as an alternative to the trial process during his judicial career as well as many years of resolving disputes as an alternative to litigation during his private practice as a lawyer. He joined the Centre for Innovative Dispute Resolution, St. John’s in September 2008.
  • Commissioner, Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry (OHSI), 2009-2011.

In addition to writing the Report and Inquiry Recommendations for OHSI which can be found at, Mr. Wells has, since retirement from the Bench, also conducted the required independent review of the national operation of OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance, 2012, which Report can be found at . In addition Mr. Wells has conducted many arbitrations and mediations for public and private entities and conducted significant workplace investigations. He designed the rules for mediation and arbitration of disputes for an aboriginal government, was Appeal Master for the formation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Indian Band (4 years) and is a member of the arbitration roster of the Canadian Transportation Agency.