Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta

News release

June 3, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Denise J. Kiss, counsel at Bruyer Mackay Family Law in Edmonton, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Madam Justice Kiss replaces Mr. Justice D.J. Manderscheid (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 19, 2019.

Sherry L. Kachur, Q.C., partner at WK Family Lawyers in Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Madam Justice Kachur replaces Madam Justice K.M. Horner (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 26, 2020.

Thomas Rothwell, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Legal Services Division at the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta in Edmonton, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Mr. Justice Rothwell replaces Mr. Justice V.O. Ouellette (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 3, 2020.


Justice Denise Kiss earned a Bachelor of Arts (Special) with Distinction in Criminology from the University of Alberta in 1987. She graduated from the University of Alberta Law School in 1991 and completed her Articles of Clerkship with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal and with the law firm Milner Fenerty.

Immediately after completing her Articles, Madam Justice Kiss joined the boutique law firm of Rand Moreau in Edmonton, where she practised family law exclusively for more than 27 years. She has extensive litigation experience, having appeared before all three levels of court in as well as the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. She was an early advocate of alternative dispute resolution processes and assisted parties by mediating their disputes in her private practice for over 20 years.

Justice Kiss volunteered as a mediator with the Edmonton Community Mediation Services and also with the Provincial Court of Alberta Civil Division. She was a volunteer mediator with the Child Support Resolution Program offered through Alberta Justice. Justice Kiss was a panel member for the Alberta Citizen's Appeal Panel. She was a volunteer member of the Law Society of Alberta Conduct Committee and a member of the Appeal Committee for the Legal Aid Society of Alberta for many years. Justice Kiss was also involved with the Independent Legal Advice Program for Survivors of Sexual Violence offered through the Elizabeth Fry Society of Alberta.

Justice Sherry Kachur, Q.C., holds a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. She first articled, and was called to the Bar, in British Columbia, and subsequently continued her practice in Alberta.

For most of her career, Madam Justice Kachur has practised primarily in the area of family law, most recently as a partner and co-founder of WK Family Lawyers LLP (originally Widdowson Kachur Ostwald Menzies LLP). She sat as the decision maker in numerous arbitral proceedings. She is a past president of the Calgary Bar Association and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012.

As a frequent speaker and contributor to the family law bar, Justice Kachur has been an instructor at the Alberta Bar Admission course and numerous Legal Education Society of Alberta events. She has presented at the Federation of Law Societies’ National Family Law Program, Canadian Bar Association events and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Investigative and Forensic Accounting Conference. Access to justice, particularly as it relates to family matters, has been an important part of her career. She has been a volunteer at the Calgary Women’s Centre and has served as dispute resolution officer.

Justice Kachur is the mother of two teenage boys and enjoys spending time with her husband and family exploring the globe, near and far, its cultures, cuisines and wildlife.

Justice Thomas Rothwell was born in Edmonton, Alberta. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 1993 and graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 1997.

Mr. Justice Rothwell served as law clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice J.C. Major at the Supreme Court of Canada. He then joined the Edmonton firm of Reynolds, Mirth, Richards and Farmer LLP in 1998. In 2004, he accepted a position with Alberta Justice and practised in the areas of Aboriginal, constitutional and health law; most recently, he held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister, Legal Services Division. In this role, Justice Rothwell had the privilege of leading a team of approximately 225 lawyers and was responsible for overseeing the delivery of legal and strategic advice on myriad matters to the Government of Alberta.

Justice Rothwell has always enjoyed teaching and mentoring new lawyers and has co-taught constitutional litigation at the University of Alberta Law School for the past seven years. He sat on the board of the Alberta Law Foundation and currently sits on the board of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta. In addition to volunteering in the legal community, he has also volunteered his time with his community league in southwest Edmonton and within his faith community.

Justice Rothwell is married to Brenda, and they are the proud parents of two teenage daughters.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 380 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 provides 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.


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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