MacDonald, J.A. (1858-1939)

James Alexander MacDonald was the chief justice of the B.C. Court of Appeal when that Court heard the Munshi Singh test case for the Komagata Maru passengers. He grew up in Stratford, Ontario and attended the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall. In 1896 he moved to the mining town of Rossland, B.C., where he practiced mining law for the next thirteen years. In 1903 he won election for Rossland in the B.C. Legislative Assembly and was quickly chosen as Liberal leader in opposition. In 1909 he resigned from the legislature to become the Chief Justice of the newly created Court of Appeal which sat for the first time in Victoria in January 1910. The Munshi Singh case four years later was one of the most notable to come before the Court its first decade. MacDonald continued as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal until 1929 when he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. with which the Appeal Court had been merged. He retired in 1937.

Sources: Ronald A Shearer, “The Chinese and Chinatown of Rossland: Fragments from the Early Days, Version 2,” 30/08/2010, (http://spiritofred.ca/wp); Christopher Moore, The British Columbia Court of Appeal: The First Hundred Years, 1910-2010 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010).