Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Nova Scotia

News Release

July 18, 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 Anne Derrick, a judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia, is appointed a judge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. She replaces Mr. Justice J.E. Scanlan, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 6, 2016. 

Cindy Murray, managing lawyer of the Antigonish Legal Aid Office, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax. She replaces Mr. Justice J.D. Murphy, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective March 1, 2016. 

Christa Brothers, a partner at Stewart McKelvey, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax. She replaces Mr. Justice A.W.D. Pickup, who resigned effective September 30, 2016. 


Challenged at an early age by her schoolteacher father to think critically about structural inequalities, Madam Justice Anne Derrick chose law school with the intention of using her degree to try to effect positive change. After graduation from Dalhousie Law School, she joined the Nova Scotia Bar in 1981 and co-founded, with two law school classmates, a feminist all-women’s law firm in 1984. During her 24 years in practice, Justice Derrick concentrated on public interest and equality litigation, criminal law (including criminal defence work), and social justice advocacy. Justice Derrick was involved in several high-profile cases – for example, serving as one of Donald Marshall Jr.’s lawyers at the Royal Commission examining his wrongful conviction and as counsel to Dr. Henry Morgentaler. She was also privileged to represent less-visible clients, such as women in the sex trade and survivors of historic sexual and physical abuse at youth institutions in Nova Scotia.

Justice Derrick became a judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia in 2005, handling longer criminal and Youth Justice Court cases in the Halifax Long Trial Court beginning in 2011. In addition to her service at this “coalface of justice,” from 2009 to 2010 Justice Derrick also conducted the Fatality Inquiry into the Death of Howard Hyde, culminating in the release of the 400-page Hyde Report, which contained 80 recommendations for the criminal justice and mental health care systems.

Justice Derrick has received many honours, including the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from her alma mater, Mount Saint Vincent University. She has been active in public and continuing professional and judicial education throughout her career. She and her partner, a Dalhousie Law professor, have three independently minded daughters pursuing qualifications in law and social work.

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

Madam Justice Cindy Murray was born and raised in Antigonish. She received an Honours B.A. in sociology from St. Francis Xavier University, followed by an LL.B. from the University of New Brunswick. Justice Murray articled with LeBlanc MacDonald Pickup in Port Hawkesbury, and became a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society in 1992. She joined Nova Scotia Legal Aid in 1993 and, from that day forward, worked consistently to serve the diverse needs of her community and to advocate for justice. Justice Murray practised with Legal Aid for nearly her entire career as a lawyer, with the exception of two years when she served as District Court Administrator for the Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury Justice Centres. In November 2009, she became managing lawyer of the Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury Legal Aid offices. Her practice included family, criminal, and social justice law, with a strong focus on family law after 2009. 

As managing lawyer and senior staff counsel with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, Justice Murray demonstrated leadership through her involvement in continuing legal education and her commitment to providing outreach to the communities served by her office – in particular, to Nova Scotia’s First Nations communities. Throughout her career, Justice Murray has served on a number of in-house committees for Nova Scotia Legal Aid and has mentored junior lawyers with Legal Aid. 

The proud mother of three children, Justice Murray has been deeply involved in youth activities and education. In particular, she served as secretary of the School Advisory Council for St. Andrew Junior School and completed two terms as chairperson of the Antigonish Education Centre School Advisory Council. 

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

After graduating from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in 1996, Madam Justice Christa Brothers clerked at the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. She joined Stewart McKelvey in 1999, becoming partner in 2006. Her litigation practice focused on insurance defence, commercial and construction litigation, and administrative law. Justice Brothers has appeared before all levels of court in Nova Scotia, and her excellence in litigation has been consistently recognized. She has been lauded by her peers, including being named “Lawyer of the Year” in personal injury litigation by Best Lawyers in 2017 and receiving recognition from Benchmark Canada. In 2014, Justice Brothers received her Queen’s Counsel designation. 

Throughout her career, Justice Brothers has been a dedicated member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, including serving as the Chair of the Complaints and Investigation Committee, an as elected member of Council, and as the Second Vice-President. Above all, her work has been guided by a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and access to justice. She has mentored many while serving on the Board of Directors for the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, the National Insurance Law Subsection of the CBA, and the Board of Directors for the Canada Games Centre in Halifax. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion was most recently recognized when she was awarded the Progress Women of Excellence Award in the category of Management and Professions, given by the Canadian Progress Club. 

Justice Brothers’ passion for her community has always been supported by her family. She has been married to her husband, a proud African Nova Scotian, for 14 years. The couple are dedicated parents to two young children. Family time is largely focused on supporting their children’s extensive sporting endeavors and celebrating their successes.

Excerpts from Justice Brothers’ judicial application will be available shortly.

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. 



For more information, media may contact:

Kathleen Davis
Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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