- [1906 - 1976]
The Norris fonds documents the legal and judicial career of the Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas G. Norris. The papers date between 1906 and 1976, with the bulk of records dating between 1930 and 1975 documenting his law practice and his years on the Supreme and Appeal Courts of British Columbia.
Part I of the fonds consists largely of correspondence and printed material, including scrapbooks relating to the Industrial Commission as well as case notes and legal papers relating to other cases, 1947 - 71, (2 meters). Owing to a previous donation of annotated transcripts of the hearings of the "Industrial Commission as to Shipping in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System" in 1963, other material relating to the investigation of the activities of Harold Banks was donated in December, 1989. The 108 volumes and index to the hearings are catalogued (SP HE 769 A25).
Part II of the fonds consists of professional files, judicial subject files, case files, personal papers, miscellaneous papers and photographs (7 meters).
Part III of the fonds consists of professional correspondence donated by Jerry Vanson of Kelowna in 2011, as well as personal correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs donated by Norris’ grandson, also named Thomas Norris, in 2014.
The bulk of the records in the fonds are located in Part II in the Professional Files, Judicial Subject Files, Case Files, and Personal Papers series.
The Professional Files series, including materials newly processed in 2019, consists mostly of case files generated by Norris during his years as a lawyer in Kelowna and Vancouver. Also included in this series are subject files with additional information about areas of interest. For example, Norris created several files with documentation on the Associated Fruit Growers Ltd. and other marketing boards (1927 - 49). Other interesting subjects include the Kelowna Police Inquiry (1929-30), the Japanese claim Commission (1950), Rex v. Ducharme - murder case (1950), and politics (1932-35). The ''Politics" files provide a great deal of information about Norris' Conservative party interests and the process behind the appointment of a lawyer to Queen's counsel. Additional professional files created while Norris was practicing law in Kelowna (file#663-1109) were discovered and donated in August, 1990. The file list for these materials is now located on pages 34-39 of this finding aid.
The Judicial Subject Files series in Part II documents Norris' career on the Bench and his subject interests. The files include correspondence surrounding his appointment to various levels of the judiciary, files created during his judicial career and other judicial matters. For example, files often contain judgements, cases considered, clippings and other related materials. The case of Regina vs Bob & White documents the various issues considered before a decision was handed down on aboriginal hunting and fishing rights in B.C. Also included in this series are documents relating to the St. Lawrence Seaway Inquiry. Other files include subjects of the law such as divorce, Native Indians and Legal Aid. Files also included records created about the Admiralty Court, the Supreme and Appeal Courts of British Columbia and the Yukon Territorial Courts.
The Case Files series in Part II includes court documents and notes drafted by Norris. These case files were separated from other case files by Norris probably because of personal interests and the volume of materials. Each subseries of records document a case: Buttle Lake, in Strathona Park (1951), the Vancouver Policy Inquiry (1955), B.C. Telephone's Application for rate increases (1950), Royal Commission on Energy (1958) and Gordon Wismer v. MacLean Hunter (1954). The Buttle Lake files include transcripts of hearings conducted in Courtenay and Victoria, notes and some materials related to submissions presented to the Water Comptroller. Norris represented several groups opposed to the construction of the dam at Buttle Lake. The Wismer v. MacLean-Hunter files include examinations for discovery of Blair Fraser and Gordon S. Wismer, briefs and other materials used by Norris as he represented the Attorney General of B.C., Gordon S. Wismer against MacLean-Hunter magazine in a slander and libel suit.
The Personal Papers series in Part II reflects Norris’ personal interests, and also contains business or legal materials. For example, in this series are files and correspondence relating to the Law Society of B.C., the Law Society & Yale Bar Association meeting in 1958 and arrangements for the 1952 Judge Advocate luncheon. Other files reflect upon friendships with individuals such as Hugh Keenlyside and Leon Koerner. Materials newly added to this series in 2019 contain items such as travel souvenirs, birthday messages from Norris’ friends and family, and information related to Norris’ retirement. The Army Papers subseries contains records related to the time Norris spent serving in the Canadian military in World War II. These records range from 1939 to 1959, with the bulk of the records dating between 1941 and 1945.
Further information about each of the series in Parts I, II, and III can be found in the Series Descriptions on pages 8-13 of the PDF finding aid.
Norris, Thomas Grantham