Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces Federal Court prothonotary appointment

News release

March 28, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced that Benoit Duchesne, Partner at Gowling WLG in Ottawa, is appointed a prothonotary of the Federal Court.


 “I wish Prothonotary Duchesne every success in his new role. I know he will serve Canadians well as a member of the Federal Court.”

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


Prothonotary Benoit Duchesne was born in Montréal and raised in Ottawa. He received his LL.L. in 1996 and his LL.B. in 2000, both from the University of Ottawa. He was admitted to the Barreau du Québec in 1998 and to the Law Society of Ontario in 2001.

Prothonotary Duchesne is fluently bilingual. At the time of his appointment, he was a partner at Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP in Ottawa and a part-time professor of civil procedure at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Law’s Canadian Law Program. In private practice, he enjoyed a broad litigation practice in Ontario and Quebec, primarily in civil, corporate and commercial, administrative, bankruptcy and insolvency, and municipal litigation. He has argued at all levels of court in Ontario and Quebec, and at the federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also argued before numerous provincial and federal boards and tribunals. He was named to the Best Lawyers in Canada list by his peers in recognition for his work in corporate and commercial litigation.

Prothonotary Duchesne is grateful for the unwavering support of his partner, Jennifer, and brilliant daughter, Alexandra.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 515 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.

  • Prothonotaries are judicial officers of the Federal Court. They have jurisdiction over a number of procedural and substantive matters, as provided in the Federal Courts Rules.

  • Their duties generally include case management, interlocutory motion hearings, and mediations. They can also conduct trials for claims of $100,000 or less.

  • Currently, prothonotaries reside in major centres across the country – in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal – where they preside over each of the Court’s weekly motions courts. They also travel across the country as required.

  • 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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