Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta
October 23, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Arif Virani, 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.
The Honourable Alice Woolley, a Justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Calgary. Justice Woolley replaces Justice J. Strekaf (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 30, 2022.
The Honourable Kevin Feth, a Justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Edmonton. Justice Feth replaces Justice T.W. Wakeling (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 7, 2023.
Ayla Akgungor, Partner at Field LLP in Edmonton, is appointed a Justice of the Court of King's Bench of Alberta in Edmonton. Justice Akgungor replaces Justice K. Feth (Edmonton) who was elevated to the Court of Appeal of Alberta effective October 20, 2023.
Jonathan Martin, Chief Federal Prosecutor at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Edmonton, is appointed a Justice of the Court of King's Bench of Alberta in Edmonton. Justice Martin replaces Justice E.J. Simpson (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective June 7, 2023.
Darren Reed, Partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of King's Bench of Alberta in Calgary. Justice Reed replaces Justice B.A. Millar (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 16, 2022.
Chidinma B. Thompson, Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of King's Bench of Alberta in Calgary. Justice Thompson replaces Justice C.M. Jones (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 11, 2022.
“I wish Justices Woolley, Feth, Akgungor, Martin, Reed, and Thompson every success as they take on her new roles. I am confident they will serve Albertans well as members of the the Court of Appeal and the Court of King's Bench of Alberta.”
—The Hon. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Alice Woolley was appointed to the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta in 2018. She received her B.A. from the University of Toronto and graduated with an LL.B. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1994, where she received both the Gold Medal and the Dean’s Key. In 1995, she earned an LL.M. from Yale Law School. She was called to the Bar of Alberta in 1997.
At the time of her appointment to the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, Justice Woolley was a professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law where she became a nationally and internationally recognized scholar of lawyers’ ethics and professional regulation, with publications considering a wide range of issues including the lawyer as advisor, lawyers’ fiduciary obligations, the good character requirement, access to justice, regulation of civility, the independence of the Bar, and the theoretical foundations of the lawyer’s role.
Justice Woolley served as Associate Dean (Academic) (2014-2016) and as Co-Chair of the Faculty’s Curriculum Committee (2013-2014). From 2015 to 2018, she was President of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics, and from 2016 to 2018, she was President of the International Association of Legal Ethics. Justice Woolley has twice received the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and also twice been named one of Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers. In 2016, she was named the City of Calgary Council’s first Ethics Advisor.
Justice Kevin Feth was appointed to the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta in 2019. He received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta Law School in 1989 and was called to the Bar of Alberta in 1990.
At the time of his appointment to the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, Justice Feth was a partner with Field Law LLP in Edmonton. His main practice areas were education law, employment and labour, human rights, administrative law, commercial and constitutional litigation, and Aboriginal law.
Justice Feth was a sessional instructor in Labour Law at the University of Alberta Law School from 2004 to 2009 and an instructor in litigation at the Alberta Bar Admission/CPLED course for 15 years. He served as President of the Law Society of Alberta for 2014-15 and chaired numerous Law Society committees. He had been the president of Pro Bono Law Alberta since 2015. In 2019, Justice Feth received the Distinguished Service Award for Service to the Legal Profession from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch). He was made a King’s Counsel in 2010.
Justice Ayla Akgungor was born in Montreal and raised in Edmonton. She graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 2000, where she was awarded the George Bligh O’Connor Silver Medal. She was called to the Bar of Alberta in 2001.
Justice Akgungor clerked with the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench. She then articled at Field Law in Edmonton and remained with Field Law for her entire career practicing in the areas of labour and employment, human rights and professional regulation. She was the Practice Group Leader for the firm’s Edmonton Labour and Employment Group from 2014-2022.
Justice Akgungor has served as a Vice Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board since 2019 and is the Co-Editor of Remedies in Labour, Employment and Human Rights Law. She was recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of Labour and Employment and Administrative and Public Law. She has volunteered as an advising lawyer in the Student Legal Services Human Rights Project and served for the past two years as a Member-at-Large for the Canadian Bar Association’s National Administrative Law Section.
Justice Akgungor is the proud mom of two wonderful teenage daughters and one very energetic golden lab.
Justice Jonathan Martin was born in Montréal, Québec. He obtained a Civil Law degree from the Université de Montréal in 2002, a Common Law degree from the University of Ottawa in 2004, and a Master of Laws degree from George Washington University in 2005.
Justice Martin is fluent in French and English. After working as a civil litigator in Québec, he joined the Edmonton office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) in 2010. While with the PPSC, he has held several positions including Senior Counsel, Team Leader of the General Litigation team, Team Leader of the Major Case and Organized Crime team, and Deputy Chief Federal Prosecutor of Alberta. In 2022, he was appointed as the Chief Federal Prosecutor of Alberta.
Justice Martin has gained extensive legal experience through both his trial and appellate work. He has argued numerous matters before the Court of Appeal of Alberta and has appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. For the last two years, he has co-coached the University of Alberta’s Laskin Moot team.
Justice Martin enjoys heading to the mountains with his snowboard or taking walks at the dog park with his family.
Justice Darren Reed was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. He obtained his LL. B. from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2004, was class valedictorian, graduating with Great Distinction. He was awarded the Law Society of Saskatchewan Gold Medal for his academic achievements. He served as an articled law clerk to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in 2004-2005. He was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2005, then moved to Calgary and was called to the Alberta Bar also in 2005.
Justice Reed has practiced his entire career in Alberta. He maintained a broad commercial dispute resolution practice in Calgary, most recently as a Partner in the offices of Fasken, Martineau & DuMoulin. He was ranked by Chambers & Partners, Lexpert, The Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, and Best Lawyers.
Justice Reed has volunteered extensively in the Alberta legal community throughout his career. He is the co-author of the Lexis-Nexis text, Civil Procedure and Practice in Alberta, a yearly publication in its fifth year. He was a sessional lecturer at the University of Calgary Law School, teaching Law 505: Civil Procedure, from 2012-2019. He was a constant volunteer with the Legal Education Society of Alberta. He served on the executive and chaired the Calgary civil litigation subsection for the CBA. He is past chair of the Advocate’s Society Construction Law Practice Group. He also volunteered with Calgary Legal Guidance.
Justice Reed resides in Calgary with his wife, two children, and their bulldog.
Justice Chidinma B. Thompson was born and raised in Nigeria. She was called to the bar in 2002 and practiced law in Africa, with an international law firm, until she immigrated to Canada in 2004. In 2007, she obtained her LL.M from the University of Calgary and also obtained the equivalent of a Canadian LL.B from the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. She obtained a Ph.D. (law) from the University of Calgary in 2014.
Justice Thompson joined the research department of Bennett Jones LLP in 2008, articled with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in 2009, and was called to the Alberta Bar in 2010. She became a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in 2017. She spent her legal career as a lawyer, adjudicator, and arbitrator. She maintained a diverse commercial litigation, arbitration, and regulatory law practice in a broad range of sectors.
Throughout her career, Justice Thompson volunteered with the Legal Education Society of Alberta, Pro Bono Law Alberta, Calgary Legal Guidance, Alberta Regional Advisory Committee of the Advocates Society, and the Canadian Bar Association. She served on the Boards of not-for-profit organizations such as Ignite Calgary, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and Nigerians Inspiring Development Organization Americas (NIDOA) Canada. She spent rewarding time mentoring law students, young lawyers, and women. Justice Thompson was sessional instructor of various law courses at the University of Calgary. She authored several law textbook chapters and articles, and frequently spoke at professional conferences. She was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta), the Women in Law Leadership Award, and the Young Women in Energy inaugural Award.
Justice Thompson and her husband, Kenny, are blessed with two wonderful children.
The Government of Canada has appointed more than 660 judges since November 2015. The Honourable Arif Virani has made 37 appointments since becoming Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on July 26, 2023. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of racialized persons, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
To support the needs of the courts and improve access to justice for all Canadians, the Government of Canada is committed to increasing the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 provides for 22 new judicial positions, along with two associate judges at the Tax Court of Canada. Along with the 13 positions created under Budget 2021, this makes a total of 37 newly created superior court positions. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.
Changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments were announced in September 2022. The questionnaire continues to provide for a robust and thorough assessment of candidates but has been streamlined and updated to incorporate, among other things, more respectful and inclusive language for individuals to self-identify diversity characteristics.
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:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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