Justice Thomas Cromwell

Justice Thomas Cromwell has announced he will retire in September. (Philippe Landreville/Supreme Court of Canada Collection)

Justice Thomas Cromwell, the only Nova Scotian currently sitting on the highest court of Canada, has announced he will retire in September.

Cromwell, who was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in December 2008, notified the federal justice minister on Tuesday of his impending retirement.

The 63-year-old judge had previously been appointed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals in 1997.

Cromwell, who will retire from the Supreme Court of Canada as of Sept. 1., said in a statement that being a judge is "both a great privilege and an onerous responsibility."

"I will always be grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to serve Canada in this capacity," he said.

"As my time as a judge draws to a close, I believe more firmly than ever that an independent and effective judiciary is a cornerstone of democracy."

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said in a statement that Cromwell's colleagues "will miss him greatly."

"Justice Cromwell's contributions to the court and the country are unsurpassed. In his time at the court, his colleagues have always benefited from his wisdom, his rigour and his friendship," she said. 

"Outside the court, Justice Cromwell's tireless efforts to increase access to justice will continue to benefit Canadians long after his retirement from the bench." 

Cromwell was born in Kingston, Ont. and attended Queen's University. He practised law in Kingston and Toronto and taught in the faculty of law at Dalhousie University.