Robert Musgrove

Obituary of Robert Musgrove

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Robert Musgrove was born in Norwich, England on 10 October, 1963, and passed away in the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, Nova Scotia on 17 January, 2023. His loving parents, the late Barbara and John, adopted him 6 weeks later. He grew up and spent his youth in Tonbridge and Tonbridge Wells in England. He met his Nova Scotian wife, Pam Goodwin, through work as a civil servant for the Ministry of Justice (then the Lord Chancellor’s Department), and they were friends many years before marrying in England in 2002.


During his teenage years, he was not the Bob that most people know today. He was a gothic punk and proud of it.  He spent hours on his hair to create long shooting spikes with attitude. He rode motorcycles and seemed to own every type of old car you could imagine as he regaled his stories. He was a sound engineer for the band the ‘English Roses’ and enjoyed going to music festivals finding creative ways to gain entrance. He once cooked & sold veggie burgers with friends from their van because entrance was free as vendors. He changed his unique style of dress reluctantly when he became a civil servant, where he started his career as a Court Clerk. He initially kept his long hair but later cut it short which is the Bob most of us have known. One dear friend said, when she met him 35 years ago at a development training course, “he was all dressed in black (very rock star), had his long hair then which was beautiful (girls would have paid good money for his hair), and he was so lovely to everyone.” He touched many people’s hearts and it is wonderful to see all of those memories.


Bob’s hard work and long career in the civil service ended as Chief Executive of the Civil Justice Council for England in Wales. His work was in the legal world, and another dear friend said, “Bob was very much more than an administrator. As a non-lawyer he had a very quick grasp of legal issues and a rare ability to influence people and push the agenda to make several pivotal reforms to improve access to justice. His achievements during his tenure as CEO of the CJC were significant and long lasting.  Bob was also very influential and supportive of the development of the pro bono movement by solicitors and barristers.”


In 2010, Bob was asked to set up an international court in Qatar, the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC).  A friend and colleague explains that, “What was established proved to be two highly successful judicial bodies - a court with expertise in the resolution of civil and commercial disputes and a specialist regulatory tribunal which was tasked with hearing appeals from decisions of the quasi-governmental entities established within the Qatar Financial Centre. Drawing upon his experiences in England and Wales, Bob helped to develop the QICDRC in a way which was commercially friendly to those who were familiar with the common law system of resolving disputes whilst, at the same time, ensuring that the processes and procedures remained simple and easy to follow such that whatever system of law parties were used to, the QICDRC was accessible to them.  The QICDRC fast gained a reputation for resolving disputes quickly and efficiently and began to build up what has now become an impressive bank of jurisprudence which has been cited in courts both within Qatar and outside. Well aware of the advantages of trying to keep disputes out of the courtroom, Bob pioneered a number of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) based projects in an effort to ensure, so far as possible, that disputes were resolved amicably, privately, and less expensively. As such, he was a strong supporter of arbitration, mediation and adjudication and would regularly chair panel discussions involving key players in the industry on such topics.”


In 2014, Bob and Pam moved to Canada in retirement, ‘Pam’s turn’ as Bob put it. When choosing a home, it had to be suitable as a home also to Pam’s parents, a home which he generously shared with them. Those who knew him in his professional career may be surprised to know Bob in retirement. He described his retirement as a time to unleash all of his creativeness that he had been unable to release in his working life. He loved music, photography, theatre, art, cooking, cricket, his gardens and surroundings and the home we created together…he was proud of it and had every reason to be. 


A lover of animals and nature, Bob was against the killing of any creatures.  Any insect removed from the house was collected carefully to find a new home outdoors.  He created habitats for wildlife in our garden because they deserved a place to dwell, perhaps more than we do.  As a vegetarian for over 40 years, when asked his dietary restrictions, he commented ‘I don’t eat dead things’. I think he loved to watch people’s expression as he told them.


Although Bob was proud to gain his Canadian citizenship, he was an Englishman through and through. Bob never wore shorts or short-sleeved shirts, with one exception. In preparation for a holiday to the Maldives, Pam insisted he buy a pair of shorts and he did so reluctantly.  As he wore them, he said he wished he had bought more than one pair.  While gardening in the full sun and the hottest part of the day (think ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’), Bob wore long-sleeved shirts and trousers. There was a time in his retirement where Bob wore jeans, but that venture was short-lived.


Bob was a great orator and could engage and command an audience. He was recognised as an accomplished speaker in his professional career, and an impressive font of knowledge to his friends in retirement. In recent years, many friends have joined Bob around the fire, or in the garden, benefitting from his wit and charm, and his intelligent insights on any topic raised.  He was loved by many and adored by Pam. I think even Bob would be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love seen after his passing.


He was a supportive, kind, intelligent and loving man. He valued his friends and their views, and was never shy to offer his opinions. Those who knew him were better for it. One friend put it simply: “He was good and one giant kind hearted man.” 


There will be no funeral, as was Bob’s wish. A private burial will take place in Stewiacke, NS at a later date to be determined. Memorial donations may be made to  Brigadoon Village or Hope for Wildlife.


Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, 34 Coldbrook Village Park Dr., Coldbrook, NS, B4R 1B9 (902-679-2822).

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