Government of Canada announces Unified Family Court Appointments in the province of Nova Scotia

News release

March 9, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians.

The family justice system should be accessible to all Canadians and easy to navigate even during difficult times. That is why the Government of Canada is continuing to support a unified family court system. This model emphasizes constructive resolutions, supported by specialized family justice services, to achieve lasting and timely outcomes for families.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the following appointments to support the expansion of Unified Family Courts in Nova Scotia.

The Honourable S. Raymond Morse, Associate Chief Judge of the Family Court at the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia in Amherst, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Mr. Justice Morse fills one of seven positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1.

The Honourable Michelle K. Christenson, a Judge of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Madam Justice Christenson fills one of seven positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1.

Pamela Marche, Q.C., Director of Court Services at the Nova Scotia Department of Justice in Sydney, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Madam Justice Marche fills one of seven positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1.

Paul Morris, a lawyer at Mi’kmaw Family & Children Services of Nova Scotia in Shubenacadie, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Mr. Justice Morris fills one of seven positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1

Biographies

Justice S. Raymond Morse was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University in 1974 and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie Law School in 1977.

After law school, Justice Morse articled with Patterson Smith Matthews & Grant in Truro, Nova Scotia. Following his admission to the Nova Scotia bar in 1978, he joined the firm as an associate and became a partner in 1986. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1999. Justice Morse developed a specialty litigation practice in the areas of insurance, personal injury, and child protection.

Justice Morse was actively involved in the Canadian Bar Association, Nova Scotia Branch, chairing the Branch’s civil litigation section for several years and participating in several other Branch committees. He was also involved in community activities during his private practice years, including the Kiwanis Club of Truro (past president) and St. Andrew's United Church (past member of Board of Stewards).

Justice Morse was appointed to the Nova Scotia Provincial and Family Court in April 2011. He was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Family Court in November 2015. In June 2017, he became the resident Family Court judge for Truro, Nova Scotia.

Justice Michelle K. Christenson was appointed a Family Court Judge for the Province of Nova Scotia in 2013. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University with first class honours in 1992 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick in 1995. In 2002, she completed her Licentiate and Master’s Degree in Canon Law from Saint Paul University in Ottawa.

Justice Christenson practised with Pink MacDonald Harding and then Warner Jacquard from 1996 to 2003. Her main area of practice was predominantly family law. In 2003, she joined the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, where she worked as a Senior Crown Attorney until the time of her first appointment.

For the past several years, Justice Christenson has been involved in the executive of the Nova Scotia Provincial Judges Association and the Nova Scotia Judicial Education Committee.

Justice Christenson resides in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, with her husband and three boys.

Justice Pamela Marche, Q.C., was born and raised in Stephenville, Newfoundland. She attended St. Francis Xavier University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts. In 1995, she obtained a Bachelor of Laws from Schulich School of Law, where she was awarded the A.S. Patillo Prize for Advocacy (Smith Shield). In 2010, she earned a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Victoria.

Justice Marche practised at the law firm of Ryan & Ryan and with Nova Scotia Legal Aid before joining the Court Services Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Justice in 1999.  Over the past 20 years of public service, she developed and implemented a wide variety of family justice services and programs within the Differential Response to Conflict Resolution framework. For the last decade, Justice Marche has also made many contributions to family law reform at the provincial and federal level, and has represented Nova Scotia on several national family law committees.

Justice Marche was the recipient of the Nova Scotia Premier’s Award of Excellence in 2007 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2017.

Justice Marche has been an active community member, volunteering with the United Way of Cape Breton, Saints Anargyree Greek Orthodox Church, Girl Guides Canada, Loaves and Fishes, and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton.

Justice Marche is a member of the Qalipu First Nation. She lives in Sydney with her son and daughter.

Justice Paul Morris was raised in Nova Scotia, where he obtained a Bachelor in Business Administration from Acadia University and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University Law School. He was called to the bar in 1998, and practised as an associate and later as a partner with Patterson Law. His legal focus was primarily on family and insurance law.

At the time of appointment, Justice Morris was Lead Counsel with the Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services of Nova Scotia, a position he held since 2016.

Justice Morris’s volunteer activity extends beyond the legal profession. He is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for amateur sports in his community. He has also served on numerous professional committees and boards, including serving as chair of the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation during the $26 million community capital campaign to build a new hospital in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Justice Morris lives in Truro with his wife and daughter.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 350 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 provides 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.

  • 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.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-6568
rachel.rappaport@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

Search for related information by keyword: LW Law | Department of Justice Canada | Canada | Justice | general public | news releases | Hon. David Lametti
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: