The federal government has announced the appointment of four judges who are filling current vacancies at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta.
In addition to the four announced Friday, the federal budget is pledging $55 million over five years starting in 2017-18 and $15.5 million annually in the following years for 28 new federally-appointed judges.
Alberta will be home to 12 of those 28 judges—a significant gain for the province, which is facing backlogs in its justice system due partly to not having enough judges.
Alberta Justice press secretary Veronica Jubinville told Global News the timing will be determined by the Canadian government.
Watch below: Unreasonable delays in Canadian justice system could see criminals walk free – Nancy Hixt reports
William T. deWit, a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary who was an Olympic and professional boxer before his legal career, is a partner at Calgary’s Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson and has been appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. He replaces M.C. Erb, who elected supernumerary status.
Marilyn Slawinsky, currently a Provincial Court judge who previously worked with Alberta Justice and the Calgary Police Commission, is moving to Red Deer to serve on the Court of Queen’s Bench. She replaces Mr. Justice K. Sisson who retired on Jan. 3.
Ritu Khullar, a managing partner at Chivers Carpenter Lawyers in Edmonton who has represented the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund before the Supreme Court of Canada, will serve on the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton. She replaces M. Crighton, who moved to the Court of Appeal in October.
Michele H. Hollins, a partner at Calgary’s Dunphy Best Blocksom law firm, will serve on the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. She is a former national president of the Canadian Bar Association and replaces J. Strekaf, who moved to the Court of Appeal in October.
The appointments follow an October announcement by Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley that 10 new judicial positions would be created in Alberta.
With files from Melissa Gilligan, Global News and The Canadian Press