Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 24, 2016 - 9:59 am

Ottawa names 15 new deputy judges for the Nunavut court

Two permanent judges to be recommended later by reconstituted judicial advisory committee

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
In an attempt to address a judge shortfall in Nunavut, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the federal justice minister, has appointed five new deputy judges who can preside over Nunavut court cases. Ottawa still has to appoint two permanent judges but a new appointment process may cause further delays. (FILE  PHOTO)
In an attempt to address a judge shortfall in Nunavut, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the federal justice minister, has appointed five new deputy judges who can preside over Nunavut court cases. Ottawa still has to appoint two permanent judges but a new appointment process may cause further delays. (FILE PHOTO)

As the Nunavut Court of Justice awaits the appointment of two permanent judges, 15 new deputy judges are appointed to help fill the gap, the federal government said Nov. 23 in a news release.

Following the recent resignations of Justice Robert Kilpatrick earlier this year and Justice Earl Johnson’s resignation in September 2015 from the six-member Nunavut bench, the Nunavut court has made do with four permanent judges and a numerous deputy judges.

And just last month, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the federal justice minister, announced a reformed system for nominating judges, a development that appears likely to delay the appointment process.

Under those changes, existing provincial and territorial judicial advisory committees have been disbanded and replaced with new committees.

The new committees changed to include the participation of members of the public.

Under the new system, those judicial advisory committees, or JACs will be expanded to seven members, including three members of the public, but will not include a representative from law enforcement.

But until that new Nunavut JAC gets up and running, the Nunavut court will have to wait.

“I have been working with the Senior Justices of the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut to ensure that they have the support they require while their Judicial Advisory Committees are reconstituted,” Wilson-Raybould said in a release.

Deputy judges are usually judges who belong courts in other jurisdictions and who are authorized to hear cases in Nunavut. They can also be retired, or supernumerary judges.

The 15 new Nunavut deputy judges are:

• The Honourable Justice Alison J. Beames, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Kelowna)

• The Honourable Justice Thomas Carey, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Windsor)

• The Honourable Justice Dev Dley, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Kamloops)

• The Honourable Justice Geoffrey R.J. Gaul, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Victoria)

• The Honourable Justice William H. Goodridge, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Corner Brook)

• The Honourable Justice William G. E. Grist, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Chilliwack)

• The Honourable Justice Alan P. Ingram, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Family Court Branch (Peterborough)

• The Honourable Justice Miriam A. Maisonville, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Vancouver)

• The Honourable Justice Hugh R. McLean, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Smiths Falls)

• The Honourable Justice Michael T. Megaw, Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan, Family Law Division (Regina)

• The Honourable Justice Pierre L. Muise, Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Yarmouth)

• The Honourable Justice Gregory M. Mulligan, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Barrie)

The Honourable Justice D. Blair Nixon, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Calgary)

• The Honourable Justice Robert F. Scott, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Belleville)

• The Honourable Justice James W. Williams, Supreme Court of British Columbia (Vancouver)

The new judicial advisory committee in Nunavut, once it’s up and running, is expected to make recommendations to Raybould-Wilson based on its evaluation of applicants for positions on the Nunavut bench.

That committee willl be formed from the following nominees:

• a nominee of the territorial law society;

• a nominee of the territorial branch of the Canadian Bar Association;
 
• a judge nominated by the senior judge of the territory;

• a nominee of the territorial minister of justice; and,

• three nominees of the federal government representing the general public.

Nunavut’s legal community appears divided over the implications of the two judicial vacancies in Nunavut.

Prior to his retirement, Kilpatrick, while still serving on the Nunavut court, warned that the shortage of judges could hamper the court’s ability to function.

But Justice Paul Bychok, in a statement made in open court this past Oct. 21, said “there is no crisis in the Nunavut Court of Justice.”

At the time, Bychok said that the Nunavut court is capable of filling the gap with deputy judges and that “the ship of state, if I can call it that, is sailing just fine.”

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