Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments to the Federal Court

News release

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments to the Federal Court

August 6, 2021 – 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 the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Clinic Director at the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court. Madam Justice Go replaces Mr. Justice L. Martineau, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2020.

Mandy Aylen, Prothonotary of the Federal Court in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court. Madam Justice Aylen replaces Madam Justice J. Gagné, who was appointed Associate Chief Justice on December 12, 2018.

Dr. Vanessa Rochester, Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP in Montréal, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court. Madam Justice Rochester replaces Mr. Justice G. Locke, who was elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal on March 7, 2019.

Catherine A. Coughlan, General Counsel at the Department of Justice Canada in Edmonton, is appointed a prothonotary of the Federal Court.

L.E. Trent Horne, Partner at Aird & Berlis LLP in Toronto, is appointed a prothonotary of the Federal Court.


“I wish Justices Go, Aylen, and Rochester, as well as prothonotaries Coughlan and Horne, every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Canadians well as members of the Federal Court.”

The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Avvy Yao-Yao Go received her B.A. from University of Waterloo, her LL.B. from University of Toronto, and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991.

Madam Justice Go has 30 years of advocacy and litigation experience on behalf of low-income racialized clients, mostly through her role as Clinic Director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. As a first-generation Canadian, she has devoted her entire legal career to breaking down barriers for marginalized groups. She has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, on behalf of clients and public interest litigants seeking to promote equity and racial justice. She served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario for 14 years and sat on the LSO’s Access to Justice Committee, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee, and Human Rights Monitoring Group.

Justice Go has served as a part-time member of several administrative tribunals in Ontario. She has volunteered for many non-governmental and community-based organizations, including serving as the Vice Chair of the Court Challenges Program of Canada and President of the Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter. She co-founded the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) and the Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change Network.

For her contributions to disadvantaged communities and to the legal profession, Justice Go has received many awards, including the Order of Ontario (2014), the FACL Lawyer of Distinction Award (2012), the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations (2008), and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario President’s Award (2002).

Justice Mandy Aylen was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queen’s University. She was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 2002.

Prior to her appointment as a judge, Madam Justice Aylen was a Prothonotary of the Federal Court. During her five years in that role, she gained extensive experience in intellectual property litigation, First Nations disputes, immigration matters, class action proceedings, mediations and case management. She serves on numerous Federal Court committees whose efforts seek to improve access to, and the administration of, justice. Prior to her appointment to the Federal Court, Justice Aylen was a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, specializing in domestic and international commercial arbitration, procurement and government contracting, trade and customs compliance, immigration, Access to Information Act matters, public law litigation, and general commercial litigation. She also presided as sole arbitrator on a number of international arbitrations.

Justice Aylen was a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and served as Chair of the North American Branch. She was a regular speaker, teacher and writer on arbitration and procurement issues and was recognized by such leading industry directories as The Best Lawyers in Canada and Legal Media Group’s Commercial Arbitration Expert Guide.

Justice Aylen is the proud mother of Jack and Ava and the step-mother to three wonderful sons with her ever-supportive husband, Gerry Stobo.

Justice Vanessa Rochester was born and raised in Montreal. She received her B.A. (Hons), B.C.L and LL.B. from McGill University. She earned an LL.M. and a Ph.D. (with distinction) in maritime law from the University of Cape Town. She is a member of the Barreau du Québec and is qualified to practise law in England and Wales.

Prior to her appointment, Madam Justice Rochester worked and practised in maritime and transportation law for close to twenty years. Her other areas of practice include intellectual property, energy, and privacy and data protection. She worked with the late Professor William Tetley before entering private practice in the Montreal office of Norton Rose Fulbright, where she spent most of her career. She also spent several years practising in London, England, and in Singapore, where she handled complex multijurisdictional disputes.

Justice Rochester has been recognized as a leading practitioner in maritime and transportation law by numerous industry publications, including Chambers, Lexpert, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, and Expert Guides. She is a frequent speaker on maritime law topics and unconscious gender bias. She is the President of WISTA Canada, whose mission is to promote gender diversity and equality in the shipping industry. She is also VP Quebec of the Canadian Maritime Law Association and sits on the Maritime Law Executive and the Federal Court Bench and Bar Liaison Committee of the Canadian Bar Association.

Justice Rochester is married with a stepdaughter. She is an avid cyclist who enjoys travel and time with family and friends.

Prothonotary Catherine A. Coughlan was raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta and was admitted to the Bar of Alberta in 1985.

Madam Prothonotary Coughlan articled with the Department of Justice Canada in Edmonton, where she remained throughout her career. As a civil litigator, she appeared in courts across Canada at both the superior and appellate levels. While the recent emphasis on her practice was in the area of class actions, she dedicated much of the last 15 years to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, widely regarded as the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. Prothonotary Coughlan had the privilege of assisting in the negotiation of the settlement and remained lead counsel for Canada in the decade-long implementation of its terms. During that time, she sat as a member of the National Administration Committee charged with oversight of the Agreement. Through the Agreement, she has had the good fortune to meet and collaborate with counsel from across Canada, many of whom are now friends.

Prothonotary Coughlan has been a guest lecturer at continuing legal education events and law schools. She enjoys collaborating with and mentoring younger counsel in her office. She also volunteers in the community as a member of the board of a nonprofit social services agency.

Prothonotary Coughlan and her husband, Angus, are the proud parents of Caitlin and Thomas.

Prothonotary L.E. Trent Horne received a Bachelor of Administrative Studies (Honours) from Trent University before obtaining an LL.B. from Queen’s University. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1997 and was certified as a specialist in all areas of intellectual property by the Law Society of Ontario in 2009.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Prothonotary Horne was a partner with the law firm Aird & Berlis LLP, where he practised intellectual property litigation. While in private practice, he appeared as lead counsel in a wide range of intellectual property matters at the tribunal, trial and appellate level. He has been recognized by a number of directories, including Chambers Global, the Canadian Legal Lexpert directory, IAM Patent 1000, and World Trademark Review 1000. He has an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Prothonotary Horne has published widely on Federal Court practice and procedure, intellectual property, and advocacy. He is a contributing author to Federal Courts of Canada Service and Canadian Federal Courts Practice and was a regular contributor to the Supreme Court Law Review. He has also been a frequent speaker on intellectual property and advocacy issues. His contributions to the legal profession include serving as an active member on committees for the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and the Canadian Bar Association. He also served on the Federal Courts Rules Committee, and was a regular panellist for the Fox Moot.

Prothonotary Horne is the proud father of two accomplished children and is grateful for the steadfast support of his partner and family.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 475 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, LGBTQ2+, 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.

  • 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.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to promoting a justice system in which sexual assault matters are decided fairly, without the influence of myths and stereotypes, and in which survivors are treated with dignity and compassion. Changes to the Judges Act and Criminal Code that came into force on May 6, 2021, mean that in order to be eligible for appointment to a provincial superior court, candidates must agree to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination. The new legislation enhances the transparency of decisions by amending the Criminal Code to require that judges provide written reasons, or enter them into the record, when deciding sexual assault matters.


For more information, media may contact:

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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