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

News release

August 31, 2018 – 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 G. Bruce Butler, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, is appointed a Justice of the British Columbia Court of Appeal and a Judge of the Yukon Court of Appeal. He replaces Justice E.A. Bennett, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 1, 2017.

Christopher J. Giaschi, a partner at Giaschi & Margolis, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. He replaces Justice S.A. Griffin, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal effective February 6, 2018.

Karen Horsman, counsel at the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice of British Columbia, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. She replaces Justice P.J. Pearlman, who resigned effective May 7, 2018.


Justice G. Bruce Butler was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on March 30, 2007. In his 11 years on the court, he has heard a wide range of cases in all areas of the law. As a judge, he developed a strong interest in family law. He was appointed the Hague Contact Judge for British Columbia in 2009 and was a member of the Canadian Network of Contact Judges (now the Special Committee on International Child Protection) from 2009 to 2017. He has been a member of the Supreme Court’s Family Law Committee since 2010 and has chaired that committee since 2015. He took an active role in the establishment of the Family Law Project for the court and acted as the team leader in Vancouver in 2015 and 2016. From 2012 to the present, he has been a member of the Editorial Board of the British Columbia Family Practice Manual, published by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia (CLEBC).   

Justice Butler was born in Calgary and raised in North Vancouver, where he still resides. He received his LL.B. from the University of British Columbia in 1979 and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1980. He practised at Harper Grey LLP until his appointment to the bench. His varied civil litigation practice focused on the fields of professional liability, commercial insurance, insurance coverage, commercial litigation and aviation. Justice Butler was an executive director of the Vancouver Bar Association and a frequent lecturer at CLEBC and bar education events. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2005.

Justice Butler’s volunteer activities have included coaching T-ball, soccer and softball. He has been a Type 1 diabetic for 45 years and has volunteered with the Canadian Diabetes Association and JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  

Justice Butler and his wife Phyllis have three grown children and four grandchildren. Whenever he is able to find time away from writing and the law, he plays with the grandchildren, grows tomatoes, golfs, cycles, skis and climbs the Grouse Grind.

Justice Christopher J. Giaschi was born in Bracebridge, Ontario. He earned a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Toronto in 1982 and a joint LL.B. and M.B.A. from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 1986.

Justice Giaschi was called to the Ontario Bar in 1988 and commenced practising law at Campbell, Godfrey & Lewtas, which later merged with Faskens. In 1991, he moved to Vancouver with his spouse, Professor Deborah Giaschi. In Vancouver, he practised as an associate and later a partner with McEwen Schmitt & Co. In 1997, he founded Giaschi & Margolis, a boutique law firm specializing in transportation and maritime law.

Justice Giaschi was recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of maritime law. He is a titular (honourary) member of the Comité Maritime International, a former president of the Canadian Maritime Law Association, and a former chairperson of the National Maritime Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. From 2004 to 2009, he taught maritime law as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia. He has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Marine Insurance Association of British Columbia, as chairperson of the Education Committee of the Marine Insurance Association of British Columbia, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Ontario Branch of the Maritime Law Subsection of the Canadian Bar Association.

Justice Giaschi is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars and has an extensive list of publications. He is the annual contributor for Canada to Lloyd’s Maritime Law Yearbook. He is also the founder of and principal contributor to, a pre-eminent Internet resource for maritime and transportation law.

Excerpts from Justice Giaschi's judicial application are available.

Justice Karen Horsman was born and raised in Vancouver. She received her LL.B. from the University of British Columbia in 1992. After clerking at the British Columbia Supreme Court, she completed her articles with the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General. Justice Horsman has spent most of her legal career as a barrister with the Ministry of the Attorney General, initially in the general civil litigation group and most recently in the constitutional and administrative law group. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014.

Justice Horsman’s legal practice has covered a wide range of subject matters, from personal injury actions in provincial small claims court to major constitutional litigation that has progressed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She has frequently appeared as counsel at all levels of courts in British Columbia and at the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Since 2007, Justice Horsman has been a co-editor and contributing author to the textbook Government Liability: Law and Practice. For the past several years, she has also taught as an adjunct professor at the Allard School of Law. Throughout her career, Justice Horsman has been a frequent volunteer contributor to legal education programs on a diverse array of topics including appellate advocacy, constitutional litigation, class actions, administrative law, and mentoring in the legal profession.

Excerpts from Justice Horsman’s judicial application are available.

Quick Facts

  • 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 will provide funding of $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 provided 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.
  • In addition, the Government will invest $6 million over two years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support the judicial discipline process through which allegations of judicial misconduct are investigated. In this way, 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.
  • 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. Sixteen Judicial Advisory Committees have been reconstituted to date. 


For more information, media may contact:

Célia Canon
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

Page details

Date modified: