Defence Minister Bill Blair Announces Appointment of New Chief Military Judge

News release

March 27, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced the appointment of Captain(N) Catherine Julie Deschênes as the new Chief Military Judge, to hold office during good behaviour. The appointment is effective immediately.

Minister Blair thanks Lieutenant-Colonel Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil, Deputy Chief Military Judge, for his work acting as interim Chief Military Judge since March 2020. 

Quick facts

  • Prior to her appointment as a Military Judge in 2019, Captain(N) Deschênes served as Legal Advisor in the Office of the Chief of the Defence Staff, where she provided legal advice in many different areas of law.

  • Captain(N) Deschênes enrolled in the Naval Reserve in 1989 and served as a Medical Assistant until she was commissioned as a Maritime Surface and Sub-surface Officer in 1995. While in the Naval Reserve, she received a Bachelor of Laws from Université Laval.

  • She transferred to the Regular Force in 1999 as a Legal Officer and has served in numerous roles in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, both across Canada and on Operations around the world.

  • Military judges preside at courts martial and perform other judicial duties provided for under the National Defence Act such as judicial review of pre-trial custody.

  • The National Defence Act requires that military judges be military officers for at least 10 years and members of a provincial bar for at least 10 years.

Associated links


Diana Ebadi 
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of National Defence 

Media Relations 
Department of National Defence 
Phone: 613-904-3333 

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