Class of 1953

Born into a strong Catholic Irish family tradition Maurice made the most of his time at Aquinas and the spirit of the Brothers’ teaching has stayed with him throughout his stellar career in Law. In his last two years at Aquinas College, he completed seven subjects gaining five distinctions. Maurice was particularly talented at cricket and football. He captained the First XI and was a rover in the winning First XVIII. In a match against Hale in 1953, “Not out for 85” got him a mention in the 1953 Annual! He won the Inters Mile and was Head Prefect and Captain of the School in 1953. Modesty typical of a great Aquinian prevents him from crowing about his academic successes, especially as he like so many others had a second go before finishing on a high in his final year. Having put in the hard yards at Aquinas College, his success at university surprised no one and he went on to get 19 out of 20 subject distinctions while studying Law at the University of Western Australia. In fact, Maurice won every single prize for which he was eligible. As the school’s sixth Rhodes’ Scholar Maurice had a stunning combination of sporting and academic achievements behind him by the time he went to Oxford in 1957.

On returning from Oxford, where he also lectured in Law, Maurice taught in Melbourne. During a sabbatical at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, he was invited to teach in Ontario, Canada, by the then Dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School. He and his family moved to Ontario and, in spite of the cold winters, settled happily.

In a smooth upward trajectory, Maurice began practice as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario; he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1980, and then successively to the Ontario Court of Justice and in 1999 to the Superior Court of Justice. Eight years later the Ontario Bar Association recognised Maurice’s contribution to Law in Ontario by awarding him its 2017 Award of Excellence in Trusts and Estates Law.

Looking back to his time at Aquinas College Maurice happily recalls he had the best education, a wonderful time on and off the fields. In particular, he remembers the influence Brother Murphy had on his life. He recalls that the school then had something of a British independent school’s atmosphere and culture in which everyone strived to be the best they could be. Faith was “front and central” in his education and sport was key to the climate in which learning took place. Even the Brothers would keep a watchful eye on the classroom clock at the time came up to 3 pm and look forward to their daily release onto the playing fields of Aquinas.

Today Maurice has nothing but the highest regard for the Brothers, the school as it was and the preparation it gave him for a career that took him across the world.