Justices Edith Campbell and Ron Veale react to speeches after Campbell was sworn in as the Yukon Supreme Court’s first ever resident woman justice in Whitehorse on Thursday. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)

Yukon Supreme Court’s first resident woman justice sworn in

Justice Edith Campbell is also the only resident Yukon Supreme Court judge fluent in both official languages

The Yukon Supreme Court’s first ever resident woman justice was sworn in during a largely jovial ceremony at the Whitehorse courthouse June 14.

Justice Edith Campbell said her oaths of service in both English and French before a courtroom packed with Yukon legal professionals as well as members of Campbell’s family, including her parents and her sister, who travelled from Quebec to attend, and her son.

Campbell’s spouse, Territorial Court Chief Judge Peter Chisholm, was also in attendance, sitting three seats over from her on a panel of eight supreme and territorial court judges at the front of the room, as were Yukon Commissioner Angélique Bernard and Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee.

Campbell’s appointment to the bench is historic on several fronts, the courtroom heard over the course of several speeches spanning the hour-long event: she is the first resident woman justice to be appointed to the Yukon Supreme Court in 120 years. Her appointment marks the first time since the Gold Rush that the Yukon Supreme Court has had three resident judges (from 1910 until now, there have only been two). She is the first francophone to be appointed to the Yukon Supreme Court and she is the only Supreme Court resident justice who can preside over matters in both English and French.

In his introduction, Veale said that Campbell is also “quite unique in the number of courtrooms in this country that she’s appeared in.” Over the course of more than two decades in law, she’s practised in the Supreme Court of Canada, the federal trial court and federal court of appeal in Ottawa, provincial courts of Prince Edward Island and Quebec, Quebec’s Superior Court and Court of Appeal, the superior courts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the Yukon territorial and supreme courts.

“I have to acknowledge that I would not be here today but for my father’s advice that I take up law in university instead of biology, which I had also applied for,” Campbell told the court.

“Much has been said since I was appointed about the fact that I am the first woman appointed as a resident judge to the Supreme Court of Yukon. I didn’t quite realize the impact of that news until a number of women, many of whom were not lawyers, came to congratulate me and told me that they saw my appointment as an important event for women as well as young girls who would now have another role model to look up to.”

Campbell added that she was also grateful that her francophone heritage and French accent “are no longer seen as a barrier, but as an asset.”

“I am well aware of the important task that lies ahead of me. I embrace it with enthusiasm but also, with a bit of apprehension,” she said in closing. “One thing I can assure you of is that I will work hard and do my best to serve my fellow Yukoners well.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Yukon courts

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Liard First Nation chief goes to court over June election

George Morgan is alleging corruption and bias on the part of the chief returning officer

No new COVID-19 cases despite infection ‘wake-up call’

Testing surged this week after the government released new information about infected visitors

Apology for racist actions of Yukon Energy Dawson City employee inadequate, complainants say

Two Dawson City residents who were accosted by a Yukon Energy employee… Continue reading

Yukon legal aid can only fund 100 hours to prep for murder case, executive director says

Lawyers for Charabelle and Lynzee Silverfox, charged with first-degree murder, seeking more funding

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Aug. 5, 2020

Delegate calls for crosswalk changes to show support for people of colour

Mayor states support for idea, but cautions it could take some time

Whitehorse advises of water system maintenance

Residents on the city’s water system are being advised they may notice… Continue reading

Walkway, signs planned for West Dawson paddlewheel graveyard

Unofficial attraction may get 135-m walkway and interpretive signs, if YESAB application approved

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week. Tennis… Continue reading

Cancan show to return to Gerties

The Klondike Visitors Association announced in a press release on July 29… Continue reading

Air North named best airline

Tripadvisor named Air North the Travellers’ Choice Best Airline in Canada 2020… Continue reading

Community banking services to move to CIBC

A number of Yukon communities will see changes in banking this fall… Continue reading

Majority of Yukon businesses don’t have employees working remotely during COVID-19, survey says

Less than a third of businesses have any portion of their workforce working remotely

Most Read