Government of Canada announces Federal Court prothonotary appointment
May 4, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced that Alexandra Steele, a lawyer with ROBIC LLP, is appointed a prothonotary of the Federal Court, effective May 15, 2018. She replaces Prothonotary Richard Morneau, who has elected to retire effective May 15, 2018.
Prior to her nomination, Madam Prothonotary Alexandra Steele was an attorney with the firm of ROBIC LLP in Montreal, where she practiced in the area of intellectual property law.
Prothonotary Steele received her law degree in 1997 from the University of Montreal and was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1998. After initially engaging in the practice of family law, she joined ROBIC LLP in 2001, where she specialized in litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and unfair competition. She has appeared before both the trial and appellate levels of the Quebec Courts and the Federal Courts, as well as before the Copyright Board. She also became an accredited civil and commercial law mediator with the Quebec Bar in 2014.
Prothonotary Steele has been active with numerous professional organisations in Canada and abroad. She was notably a member of Council of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) and chaired the National Intellectual Property Section of the Canadian Bar Association. She was also one of the original members of the Federal Court IP Users Group, as well as a member of the Liaison Committee of the Montreal Bar with the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.
Fluently bilingual, Prothonotary Steele has been a frequent presenter at legal conferences on intellectual property law and advocacy. She has published several articles, including for the Développements récents and the Cahiers de propriété intellectuelle collections, as well as authored and co-authored chapters in JurisClasseur Québec – Propriété intellectuelle, Intellectual Property Litigation: Forms and Precedents and Canadian Patent Law Benchbook.
- Prothonotaries are judicial officers of the Federal Court. They have jurisdiction over a number of procedural and substantive matters, as provided in the Federal Courts Rules.
- Their duties generally include case management, interlocutory motion hearings, and mediations. They can also conduct trials for claims of $50,000 or less.
- Currently, prothonotaries reside in major centres across the country – in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal – where they preside over each of the Court’s weekly motions courts. They also travel across the country as required.
- In 2017, the Minister of Justice made 100 appointments and elevations – the most a Minister of Justice has made in one year in at least two decades. Of these appointees, half are women, four are Indigenous, and 16 have self-identified as a member of a visible minority population, LGBTQ2, or a person with a disability.
- The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 proposes $77.2 million over four years to support the expansion of unified family courts, beginning in 2019-2020. This investment in the family justice system will create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- In addition, Budget 2018 proposes funding for a further seven judicial positions in Saskatchewan and Ontario, at a cost of $17.1 million over five years.
- The funding outlined in Budget 2018 comes on top of resources allocated under Budget 2017, which created 28 new judicial positions across the country.
- Additionally, the Government will ensure that a robust process remains in place to allow Canadians to voice their concerns and submit complaints about judicial conduct to the Canadian Judicial Council and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. This investment of $6 million over two years, beginning in 2018-2019, will support the judicial discipline process through which allegations of judicial misconduct are investigated.
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