In Memoriam | Spring 2020 | NEXUS Magazine | The Faculty of Law | UNB

Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)

Faculty of Law
UNB Fredericton

Back to NEXUS Magazine

In Memoriam

Eugene (Pete) J. Mockler, QC (BCL ’60)

31 December 1936 – 10 November 2019

In the Fall of 2019, Eugene J. Mockler, QC passed away. Pete, as he liked to be known, was a tremendous figure in the New Brunswick legal community and the model for a long and successful legal career.

Pete received his Bachelor of Arts from UNB in 1958. During all four years of his undergrad, he played for the varsity men’s hockey team alongside his brother, Hub (Hubert). Pete also served as captain during his tenure with the Red Devils.

Pete began his legal education at the UNB Law School in Saint John before moving with the school to Fredericton in 1959—this made Pete a member of the last class at the Saint John law school and the first class at the newly opened Fredericton Law School. Pete excelled academically, winning the Carswell Prize for the highest standing in his second year of Law School. He was also heavily involved in extracurriculars, holding positions as Chairman of the Athletic Committee, Chief Justice of the Moot Court, and Chairman of the Telephone Committee. He graduated from UNB Law in 1960 with a Bachelor of Civil Law and was called to the New Brunswick Bar that same year. Pete received a full scholarship from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he graduated with his Master’s in Law (Specializing in tax law) in 1961.

Pete spent the next 60 years practising law in Atlantic Canada. He was the founder and owner of E.J. Mockler Professional Corporation in Fredericton, NB, where he specialized in trial advocacy, representing clients in cases of personal injury, malpractice, commercial litigation, tax, bankruptcy, employment, and criminal and family law.

Kevin Toner practised alongside Pete for nine years at E.J. Mockler.

“Pete was a great friend, teacher and mentor. He always had time to point me in the right direction in identifying issues. One file had me so perplexed that I was not even clear on how to frame my research questions. I told him about my difficulties and asked him where to start. He leaned back in his chair, looked up toward the ceiling, closed his eyes for a few seconds, then gave me the name and citation of a case out of the British Columbia Court of Appeal from the early 1980s. I retrieved it. That is where I found everything I needed.”

Pete represented clients at every level of Court in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Ontario. He was a passionate lawyer known for his grit and determination in the courtroom. He cared deeply about his clients, always putting their needs first. 

“Early in our time together, I mentioned a matter I was working on and expressed that perhaps I was putting more work and effort into it than was necessary,” recounts Toner. “He told me that every client deserves nothing less than one hundred percent. Otherwise, we should not take on the task. That one observation best exemplified Pete’s commitment to his clients in daily practice.”

In 2015, Pete argued at the Supreme Court of Canada for the appellant in Potter v New Brunswick Legal Aid Services. Pete was recognized by Lexpert in their list of Top 10 Business Decisions of 2015. This case is regarded as the Supreme Court’s most comprehensive treatment of the law of constructive dismissal since its 1997 decision in Farber v Royal Trust Co

Pete gave back to the legal community in a multitude of ways. He was a lifetime member of the New Brunswick Law Society, serving on its Council. He was a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation, sitting on the Board of Governors. He also gave back to his alma mater. Pete lectured at the Faculty of Law and sat on the LLB steering committee.

Toner remembers Pete as a man with a great sense of humour who never took himself too seriously.

“In the 1970s, Pete threw his hat in the ring as the local candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in a Federal Election. He lost. He recounted recently that he should have contested the results as one poll in Burtts Corner showed him receiving only three votes when he had paid for at least five.”

Pete was a husband, father, brother, and grandfather. He is greatly missed by those who knew him.