Focus On

Feds appoint judge, promote another to Alberta bench

Friday, February 01, 2019 @ 12:08 PM | By John Chunn

The federal Department of Justice on Jan. 31 announced the following judicial appointments for the province of Alberta:
Kevin P. Feehan, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, is appointed a justice of the Court of Appeal in Edmonton. He replaces Justice Ronald L. Berger, who retired effective Oct. 26, 2018.

Tamara Friesen, counsel at Nugent Law Office, is appointed a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton. She replaces Justice Dawn Pentelechuk, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Alberta on Nov. 1, 2018.

Justice Feehan graduated from the University of Alberta Law School in 1978, articled at Milner & Steer, and practised with that firm through its various iterations (Milner & Steer, Milner Fenerty, Fraser Milner, Fraser Milner Casgrain, FMC LLP and Dentons LLP) for his entire 38-year career. As a civil litigator, he practised in the areas of constitutional, education, health, insurance, personal injury, corporate commercial, medical negligence and oil and gas litigation.

Justice Feehan has been a sessional instructor in constitutional litigation since 2000 and is the author of more than 200 legal publications. He was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in October 2016.

Justice Feehan has been actively involved in the community as vice-chair of St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta, chancellor of Newman Theological College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, chair of Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities Societies, chair of the Edmonton Social Planning Council, president of The Works International Visual Arts Society, and numerous other boards and committees. He is the recipient of both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Alberta Centennial Medal for Public Service, the Royal Lifesaving Society Commonwealth Honourary Life Governor Award, the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association President’s Award, and the Justice James Higgins Award. He was named Queen’s Counsel in 2003 and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2015.

Justice Friesen was born in Lethbridge, Alta., to a teacher and a farmer. According to Justice Canada’s press release she was raised on a steady diet of music, sports and novels. After attending the University of Alberta for her undergraduate degree, she went on to receive an M.A. in Canadian literature from the University of Guelph. She studied law at the University of Alberta and clerked with both the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench before being called to the Alberta bar in 2002.

Justice Friesen’s legal career included positions as legal counsel with the Law Society of Alberta and as director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law. She taught professional responsibility as a sessional instructor; volunteered as a guest lecturer and moot judge; spoke at law conferences on a wide variety of topics; and performed pro bono work for the Edmonton Community Legal Clinic.

For the majority of her career, Justice Friesen practised criminal law as a Crown prosecutor for Alberta Justice, where she worked in each of the General, Specialized, and Appellate branches. For the past five years, she has practised labour, employment, constitutional and administrative law at Nugent Law Office. She has appeared before a variety of administrative tribunals and at all levels of court, including appearing twice at the Supreme Court of Canada — once on a criminal matter, and once on a labour matter.

Her husband and two daughters are her greatest supporters and the primary source of both her courage and her joy.