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New judges for the Provincial Court of Alberta

|Written By Mallory Hendry

Three new judges have been appointed to the Provincial Court of Alberta.

David Hancock was appointed to the Provincial Court, Edmonton Family and Youth court. Hancock was a lawyer practising in criminal, civil, family and corporate law before becoming an elected representative and member of the government of Alberta for 18 years. During that time, he served as premier and Government House Leader, held numerous cabinet positions such as deputy premier, minister of justice, minister of health and wellness, minister of human services and minister of education. He retired from public service in 2014.

He continues community advocacy in Edmonton, serving in various positions at local organizations including board member for the Edmonton Community Foundation, the Citadel Theatre and the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society. He also served as Chancellor of St. Stephen’s College at the University of Alberta.

Marian De Souza has been appointed to Provincial Court, Calgary Region. She began her legal career representing legal aid clients in civil, criminal, family and child protection matters, and then moved on to spend 10 years with a Fortune 500 company as legal counsel and then as a director.

De Souza has served in various roles with the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association. Most recently, she was president and executive officer of the Alberta branch of the CBA. She continues to be an active volunteer in Calgary, providing pro-bono legal advice and services through a number of local community organizations.

The third newly appointed judge is Robert Shaigec, who takes his place on the bench of the Provincial Court, Edmonton Region. He began his legal career as a partner with an Edmonton law firm, where he practised as a criminal defence lawyer and appeared as counsel in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Providing legal aid services to those facing barriers to access to justice — such as those with low incomes, mental illness, addictions and homelessness — has made up a significant part of his work over the years. He has served as a committee member for Legal Aid Alberta and held numerous positions with the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.

The newly appointed judges “have each made positive and lasting contributions to Alberta’s justice system and their communities,” said acting Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Marlin Schmidt in the announcement.

“I congratulate them on their appointments to the Provincial Court of Alberta and I am confident their experience will be a valuable asset as they move forward in their careers as members of the judiciary.”

Candidates for the appointments go through a multi-step process where they are first screened by the Alberta Judicial Council, which includes representatives from the Alberta Provincial Court, Court of Queen’s Bench, Court of Appeal and the Law Society of Alberta, as well as two people appointed by the minister of Justice and Solicitor General. Candidates are then interviewed by the 11-member Provincial Court Nominating Committee, which has representatives from the Alberta Provincial Court, the Law Society of Alberta, the Alberta branch of the Canadian Bar Association and people from the province’s legal community and the public appointed by the minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The nominating committee provides recommendations on which candidates should be appointed to the minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

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