Focus On

Feds promote judge to B.C. Court of Appeal

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 @ 2:55 PM | By John Chunn

The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 6 announced that Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten of the Supreme Court of British Columbia is appointed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and a judge ex officio of the Court of Appeal of Yukon.

Justice DeWitt-Van Oosten replaces Justice S. David Frankel (Vancouver), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 1, 2019.

According to the DOJ press release, Justice DeWitt-Van Oosten spent most of her childhood in a small rural community in northern British Columbia. She worked in a family business with her siblings and entrepreneurial parents, who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1950s. She left to go to school in Edmonton, graduating from the University of Alberta with a law degree in 1991. After graduation, she clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and then moved back west, joining the British Columbia Prosecution Service in 1994.

She worked as a trial prosecutor and an appellate prosecutor and led a specialized unit focused on Charter litigation. In 2012, she was appointed assistant deputy attorney general for the B.C. Prosecution Service. She held that position until her appointment to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in October 2016.

As a lawyer, Justice DeWitt-Van Oosten was designated Queen’s Counsel in 2010. In 2012, she received the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch) Georges A. Goyer Q.C. Memorial Award for her contributions to the legal profession.

Over her career, she has been active in legal education. In the early 2000s, she taught criminal procedure at the University of Victoria. She is currently co-chair of the National Criminal Law Program, Federation of Law Societies of Canada, as well as co-chair of a course in Charter litigation with the National Judicial Institute.
From about 2007 to her judicial appointment, she was co-editor of the Working Manual of Criminal Law.

Justice DeWitt-Van Oosten is married with a 22-year-old daughter.