Government of Canada announces judicial appointments to the Federal Court

News release

May 6, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process introduced 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.

Panagiotis Pamel, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais in Montréal, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court and a Judge ex officio of the Federal Court of Appeal. Mr. Justice Pamel replaces Mr. Justice M.M.J. Shore, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective March 21, 2018.

Nicholas McHaffie, a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court and a Judge ex officio of the Federal Court of Appeal. Mr. Justice McHaffie replaces Mr. Justice R. Mosley, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 4, 2018.


Justice Pamel was born and raised in Montreal. After obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Concordia University in 1983, he attended McGill University, graduating in 1987 with degrees in both civil and common law. Called to the Quebec Bar in 1988, Mr. Pamel joined McMaster Meighen, a predecessor firm of Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG). Apart from a short stint in industry, he practised in the area of maritime law at BLG for over 30 years.

 As counsel to numerous Canadian and international marine stakeholders, Justice Pamel advised in such areas as casualty and environmental response, marine operations, regulatory compliance, contracts of affreightment, vessel purchase and finance, contractual disputes, statutory prosecutions, marine insurance, salvage and general average, and acted as counsel in several landmark decisions of the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada in the area of maritime law.

As a founding member of BLG`s Team North and past chair of the Arctic Issues Committee of the Canadian Maritime Law Association, Justice Pamel`s practice area increasingly included arctic navigation. He has been a regular speaker at arctic shipping conferences around the world.

Justice Pamel is a contributor to Canadian Maritime Law, 2nd edition, and has participated in numerous articles in the areas of maritime law and arctic navigation.

Justice Pamel is a past director of the Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation and McGill University Health Centre Foundation. He is married, has two boys, and mostly enjoys spending time with his family.

Justice Nicholas McHaffie was born and raised in Toronto. He received a B.Sc. in Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of Toronto in 1990 and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia in 1994. He clerked for the Right Honourable Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1996.

Justice McHaffie spent his legal career at Stikeman Elliott LLP, first in Toronto and then in Ottawa upon moving to the capital in 1998, where his litigation practice focused on intellectual property, public law, and administrative/regulatory litigation. He was recognized by various legal publications, including as one of the “Best Lawyers in Canada” in Intellectual Property, Administrative and Public Law, Communications, and Corporate/Commercial Litigation. He was honoured to lead a team that was awarded a Lexpert Zenith Award in 2011 for its pro bono work for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Justice McHaffie formerly taught Administrative Law and Civil Procedure at the University of Ottawa and Civil Trial Advocacy at Queen’s University. He has continued his involvement in legal education by speaking and writing frequently on administrative law, intellectual property, and advocacy issues. He sits on the editorial board of the Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Review and on the Sopinka Cup Organizing Committee. Outside the legal world, he is a member of the board and executive of the Ottawa Children’s Choir.

Justice McHaffie and his partner, Julie Beauchemin, are the proud parents of two teenagers.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 300 judges have been appointed since November 2015. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of visible minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S and those who self-identify as having 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:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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