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Ottawa appoints Smith as chief justice of N.S. Supreme Court

Monday, June 24, 2019 @ 12:27 PM | By John Chunn

The federal Department of Justice on June 24 announced the appointment of Deborah K. Smith as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

She replaces former Justice Joseph P. Kennedy, who retired on April 30, 2019, after more than 41 years of distinguished service as a judge.
“I am happy to announce the appointment of the Honourable Deborah K. Smith as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press release. “Chief Justice Smith brings over 17 years of experience practising law in Halifax and, more recently, over 18 years of service as a judge on the province’s Supreme Court. I am confident she will serve Nova Scotians well in her new role.”

Chief Justice Smith was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in 2001. Prior to her appointment, she practised civil and family law for 17 years at McInnes Cooper.
Chief Justice Smith sat in the Family Division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia until 2004, when she was appointed associate chief justice and transferred to the Court’s General Division. She was the first female associate chief justice appointed in the province of Nova Scotia.
Chief Justice Smith has been an active member of the Canadian Judicial Council. She currently co-chairs its Judicial Independence and Appointment Process Committee, and she is assisting with the redrafting and modernization of the Ethical Principles for Judges, a publication designed to provide guidance for superior court judges in Canada. Chief Justice Smith previously served as a member of the Council’s Executive Committee, Judicial Education Committee and Priorities and Planning Committee. She has also served as a member of the National Judicial Institute’s board of governors.
Chief Justice Smith taught civil trial practice at Dalhousie Law School and has lectured at the Nova Scotia Bar Admission Course, the joint National Judicial Institute and Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice New Judges School and at numerous continuing legal education programs.
Chief Justice Smith graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1983 and was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in 1984.