Nova Scotia has a new associate chief justice of the Supreme Court
Hugh William Veenstra joins the Supreme Court of British Columbia as a judge, while Patrick J. Duncan is appointed as associate chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Justice Veenstra has been recognized for his work with the Canadian Bar Association
Veenstra takes the place of Justice Kenneth Affleck in Vancouver, who retired effective Nov. 5, 2019. Admitted to the B.C. bar in 1992, Veenstra graduated from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law and clerked with two justices at the B.C. Court of Appeal. He worked at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, then acted as associate counsel at Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, where he centred his practice on civil litigation and arbitration, with an emphasis on real estate, construction and general commercial disputes.
For the Canadian Bar Association, Veenstra has served as chairperson of the national civil litigation section, as president of the B.C. branch, as member of the national board of directors and as member of the truth and reconciliation working group of the B.C. branch, for which he co-authored its 2018 report. For his efforts, he has received the CBABC President’s Medal, the Law Society of B.C.’s Leadership in Legal Aid Award and an appointment as Queen’s Counsel.
David Lametti, federal justice minister and Canada’s Attorney General, announced the appointment on June 23.
Justice Duncan has been with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for nearly 13 years
Duncan fills the vacancy left by Justice Deborah Smith’s appointment as chief justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in June 2019. Duncan, who first joined the court on Nov. 30, 2007, has mentored new judges in criminal law, has given presentations on privacy, evidence, disclosure and criminal jury trials and has participated in judicial committees, including serving as former chairperson of the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee.
Before embarking on his work with the judiciary, Duncan worked for seven years at Nova Scotia Legal Aid, then was partner at Beveridge, MacPherson & Duncan, where he practised primarily in administrative law, criminal defence, civil litigation and public inquiries. He has devoted his time to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and other legal organizations. He obtained his law degree from Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law.
“I am confident Associate Chief Justice Duncan is up to this task,” said Chief Justice Smith. “He is an extremely hard-working and insightful jurist who is always willing to take on new responsibilities.”
“Associate Chief Justice Duncan brings with him a wealth of experience gained while serving as a judge on the provincial Supreme Court since 2007 and practising law for nearly three decades,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced the appointment on June 23. Like Smith, Trudeau expressed confidence that Duncan would do well in his new role.