Nicholas Kasirer was born in Montreal on February 2, 1960, the son of the late Patricia Heeney and the late Paul Kasirer, M.D. He is the grandson of A.D.P. Heeney, advocate, who was clerk to the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet under Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Ambassador to the United States for two mandates. Justice Kasirer is a graduate of University College (B.A. (hons)) at the University of Toronto, McGill University (Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws) and the Université de Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) (D.E.A. 3e cycle). A member of the Bar of Quebec since 1987, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal on July 29, 2009.
After articling at the law firm of Stikeman Elliott, Nicholas Kasirer began his career as a law clerk to Justice Jean Beetz of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1989, he joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor, and was appointed James McGill Professor of Law in 2002. In 1996 he was named Director of the Quebec Research Centre for Private and Comparative Law to succeed the Centre’s founder, Professor Paul-André Crépeau. In 2003, Nicholas Kasirer was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law at McGill and served in that position until 2009. He was Chair of the Conseil des doyens des facultés de droit du Québec from 2005 to 2008 and is a past President of the Association des professeurs de droit du Québec. He has served on the editorial boards of several legal periodicals, including the Revue internationale de droit comparé (Paris), the Estates and Trusts Reports, the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, the Revue de droit de l’Université de Sherbrooke, The Philanthropist and the Journal of Civil Law Studies (Louisiana) among others. He has been a visiting professor at the Université de Paris I and the Université de Montréal, among others.
As a law professor, Nicholas Kasirer taught principally in the fields of family law and property in both the civil law and common law traditions. He served for many years as Secretary to the Editorial Committee of the Dictionnaire de droit privé and Private Law Dictionary and has been co-editor, with Professor Jean-Maurice Brisson, of a widely used Critical Edition of the Civil Code of Québec. Over the course of his career, he was awarded several prizes for his university activities including the Prix de la Fondation du Barreau, the Hessel Yntema Prize of the American Society of Comparative Law, the David Johnston Medal from McGill University and the John W. Durnford Teaching Prize from its Faculty of Law. He was elected a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in 2006. Justice Kasirer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.