Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of British Columbia

News Release

June 23, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity. 

The Honourable Leonard “Len” Marchand, Jr., a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Kelowna. He replaces Madam Justice A.J. Beames, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 27, 2016.

Palbinder Kaur Shergill, Q.C., a sole practitioner with Shergill & Company, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster. She replaces Madam Justice E.A. Arnold-Bailey, who retired effective May 31, 2017.

Michael J. Brundrett, Crown counsel with the Ministry of Justice of British Columbia, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. He replaces Madam Justice W.J. Harris, who resigned effective April 30, 2017.

Biographies

Justice Leonard “Len” Marchand, Jr. is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, having grown up in Kamloops, British Columbia. After finishing a B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering at the University of British Columbia in 1986, he worked in the oil industry for five years. He returned to law school at the University of Victoria in 1991 and graduated in 1994. He then articled and practised law at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops from 1995-2013, when he was appointed a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia. During his days in practice, he focused on the liability of public authorities. He has appeared before all levels of court and many administrative tribunals.

Justice Marchand has dedicated a substantial portion of his career to achieving reconciliation for many Indigenous people through, among other things, pursuing civil claims of historic child abuse in institutional setting, and representing a large number of residential school survivors. In 2005, he helped negotiate and was a signatory to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. He served on the Oversight Committee for the Independent Assessment Process and also on the Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Justice Marchand was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia on September 5, 2013, sitting in Kamloops. He has also had the privilege of presiding in First Nations Court in Kamloops, where, with input from Elders, healing plans are developed for offenders.

Excerpts from Justice Marchand’s judicial application will be available shortly.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergill practised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill & Company, Trial Lawyers. She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service. Regarded as a leading human rights advocate, she has been instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her pro bono work as General Legal Counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

Justice Shergill was born in Punjab, India, and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. She grew up in Williams Lake, BC, and received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1991, she has held leadership positions both within and outside the legal community. She has been involved with the Cabinet of Canadians, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, and the Canadian Bar Association. From 2002 to 2008, Justice Shergill served on the Board of Directors of the Fraser Health Authority, the largest health region in the province.

Justice Shergill volunteers as a high school debate coach, plays the tabla and harmonium, and is kicking her way towards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is fluent in English and Punjabi, has a conversational knowledge of Hindi, and is aspiring towards fluency in French. She lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter, and twin sons.

Excerpts from Justice Shergill’s judicial application will be available shortly.

Before his appointment to the judiciary, Justice Michael J. Brundrett was a senior lawyer with the British Columbia Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice Branch. Born in Montreal and raised in North Vancouver, he received a B.A. in political science from UBC in 1988 and an LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1991. Following his call to the British Columbia Bar in 1992, Justice Brundrett conducted federal prosecutions for two years before joining the BC Prosecution Service in 1994. As a trial prosecutor for over 13 years, he handled cases in all areas of criminal law. For the last 12 years, he has conducted appeals in the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Brundrett has long been committed to legal education. He is chair of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Professional Development Committee, a co-editor of the Working Manual of Criminal Law, and coordinator of the Jury Trial Resource Counsel group at the Criminal Justice Branch. He has chaired and organized continuing legal education conferences and provided numerous presentations on criminal and constitutional law topics, evidence, advocacy, and legal writing. For many years, Justice Brundrett authored training materials and acted as a guest instructor at the Law Society's Practical Legal Training Course, as well as volunteering his time as a moot court judge at the Allard School of Law. For the last eight years, he and his family have organized community events dedicated to raising awareness of and funds to fight childhood cancer.

Excerpts from Justice Brundrett’s judicial application can be accessed at the following link.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 includes additional funding of $55 million over five years beginning in 2017-2018 and $15.5 million per year thereafter for 28 new federally appointed judges. Of these new positions, 12 will be allotted to Alberta and one to the Yukon, with the remaining 15 being assigned to a pool for needs in other jurisdictions.
  • To ensure a judiciary that is responsive, ethical and sensitive to the evolving needs of Canadian society, the Canadian Judicial Council will receive $2.7 million over five years and $0.5 million ongoing thereafter. This will support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct, including in relation to gender and cultural sensitivity.
  • Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • Significant reforms to the role and structure of the Judicial Advisory Committees, aimed at enhancing the independence and transparency of the process, were announced on October 20, 2016.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees in ten jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of three new Judicial Advisory Committees on April 13, 2017.
  • This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process announced on August 2, 2016. Nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada are selected by the Prime Minister from a thoroughly vetted list of candidates.

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Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Kathleen Davis

Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor

Office of the Minister of Justice

613-992-4621

 

Media Relations

Department of Justice Canada

613-957-4207

media@justice.gc.ca


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