John T. Rafferty, QC

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, John Rafferty moved to Nova Scotia to attend Saint Mary’s University. It was there he earned his Bachelor of Arts, which he followed up with a year of graduate studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, before returning to SMU for his Bachelor of Education.

John spent a little over a year teaching math before deciding to pursue the law at Dalhousie University. He articled with Burchell MacDougall LLP’s Truro office, and joined the firm as an associate in 1977.

“Burchell MacDougall appealed to me because I wanted to get out of the city, but not too far. My friend John MacDougall, son of founding partner Lorne MacDougall, was working here and had great things to say about the firm.”

John’s practice is diverse, and includes municipal and personal injury law. He serves as the solicitor for the Town of Truro, as well as being a litigator for personal injury plaintiffs.

“Personal injury has really become a specialized practice, and most PI lawyers are in the city. Burchell MacDougall is here; we’re convenient, accessible and flexible for local clients.”

He also works with the Lawyer’s Insurance Association of Nova Scotia in regards to negligence claims, and with the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society as a receiver for the practices of lawyers who have passed away or been disbarred.

John was appointed Queens Counsel in 1995.

Outside of the office, he has been involved with the Meals on Wheels program in Truro since its inception. He also enjoys gardening, playing duplicate bridge, and sailing a small boat.

Experience & Background

Experience & Background

Practice Areas

Personal Injury

Employment and Labour Relations

Estate Litigation

Insurance Law

Civil Litigation

Administrative Law

Municipal Law



Professional Qualifications & Education:

Nova Scotia Bar Admission 1977

St. Mary's University (B.A., 1971, B. Ed., 1973)

McMaster University

Dalhousie University (LL.B., 1977)

Queens Counsel Appointment 1995.


Professional Associations & Membership in Community Organizations:

Member, Nova Scotia Barristers' Society

Former Director and Past Chair of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Liability Claims Fund

Former Director, Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association

Treasurer, East End Meals on Wheels

Past Secretary and Director, Colchester Community Workshops Foundation



Personal Injury

Represented many individuals injured in accidents

Represented dependents in fatal accidents

Advanced and recovered claims for past and future income loss and personal care costs


Employment Law and Labour Relations

Represented numerous employers and employees in wrongful dismissal claims

Acted for employers in grievance arbitrations

Acted for both employers and unions in certification proceedings

Negotiated numerous collective agreements


Estate Litigation

Acted in court proceedings to prove or contest wills because of issues of competence, undue influence and proper signing of the will

Brought applications to Court for interpretation of unclear parts of wills

Acted in Testators Family Maintenance applications where the Claimant alleged there was inadequate provision in the will



Represented both claimants and insurance companies in long term disability claims

Negligence claims

Property damage claims

Represented both claimants and defendants in professional negligence claims


Civil Litigation

Personal injury claims

Insurance claims

Estate trials and applications

Professional negligence claims


Administrative Law

Appeared before many administrative tribunals

Appeared in union certification hearings

Acted for parties in grievance arbitrations

Acted for professional regulator in investigating and administrating members’ practices

Obtained Orders quashing decisions of administrative tribunals


Municipal Law

Solicitor for the Town of Truro



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