Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a significant nomination on Thursday, appointing Judge Mary Moreau from Alberta to the nation’s highest court. According to CBC, this decision sets a remarkable precedent, as it establishes a majority of female judges on the Supreme Court of Canada for the first time in its 148-year history.
The Hon. Mary Moreau now joins The Hon. Michelle O’Bonsawin,The Hon. Sheilah L. Martin, The Hon. Suzanne Côté and The Hon. Andromache Karakatsanis as leaders of the highest court in Canada.
Mary Moreau, formerly the chief justice of Alberta’s superior court, steps into the role, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Justice Russell Brown in June.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, The Honourable Mary T. Moreau boasts an illustrious legal career. Her educational journey includes a stint at the Faculté Saint-Jean at the University of Alberta before earning her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta in 1979.
During her academic pursuit, she engaged in the common law and civil law exchange program at the Université de Sherbrooke in 1977. Recognized for her contributions, she received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Alberta in 2019, and she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Law Leadership earlier this year.
Chief Justice Moreau’s entrance into the legal world commenced with her call to the Alberta Bar in 1980, where she primarily practiced criminal law, constitutional law, and civil litigation. Her legal acumen shone through as she litigated numerous groundbreaking cases concerning minority language rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Notably, she played a pivotal role as a co-founder of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta.
Her judicial journey began in 1994 when she assumed as a judge at the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta.
Subsequently, she served as a deputy judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon in 1996 and the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories in 2005. Her remarkable career trajectory culminated in her appointment as Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta in 2017.
Throughout her esteemed judicial career, Chief Justice Moreau was actively engaged in judicial education, administration, and ethics. Her passion for imparting knowledge led her to deliver lectures at judicial education conferences and programs, and she even co-chaired the National Judicial Institute’s annual spring National Criminal Law Conference for six years.
Her influence extended beyond Canada, as she participated in international judicial education and support projects. A testament to her dedication, she served as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics from 2014 to 2017, holding the position of president of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association from 2011 to 2012.
Chief Justice Moreau’s commitment to the legal profession remains unwavering. She currently chairs the Judicial Advisory Committee for Military Judge Appointments and the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs’ Judicial Advisory Committee on International Engagement.
Since 2017, she has been a member of the Canadian Judicial Council, where her contributions have been consistently recognized through her role on the Council’s Executive Committee since 2021 and the Judicial Conduct Committee since 2020.
Furthermore, she assumed the chair of the Technology Subcommittee in 2022 and is also an esteemed member of the Action Committee on Modernizing Court Operations, co-chaired by the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice of Canada.
Mary Moreau’s appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada not only underscores her extensive legal expertise but also marks a significant moment in the nation’s legal history, as it ushers in a majority of female judges to the country’s highest judicial authority.
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