Focus On

Feds name new chief justice of Supreme Court of Yukon

Thursday, October 01, 2020 @ 1:40 PM | By John Chunn


The Prime Minister’s Office on Oct. 1 announced the appointment of Suzanne Duncan, a judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon, as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court of Yukon.

Chief Justice Duncan replaces Ronald S. Veale, who retired on July 25, 2020, after 20 years of service as a judge.

Chief Justice Duncan was appointed to the Supreme Court of Yukon in 2018. Prior to her appointment, she was the in-house legal counsel for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation government.

Previously, she worked for the Department of Justice in Toronto in 2001, before transferring to Whitehorse in 2006. Throughout her time in practice in Yukon, Chief Justice Duncan gained extensive litigation experience before Yukon courts, with a focus on Aboriginal law and Crown liability. From 1993 to 2000, she was an associate and then partner with McCarthy Tétrault in Toronto. During this time, she handled a range of labour law and civil litigation matters, and she also developed an immigration practice, including representing refugee claimants on a pro bono basis.

Chief Justice Duncan has served on the executive of the Law Society of Yukon, as first vice-president and chair of discipline. She has been a member and chair of the board of directors of the Yukon Legal Services Society, working to improve access to justice for people with low and modest incomes in Yukon. In 2018, she was appointed chair of the Yukon Employment Standards Board, which hears appeals and provides recommendations on the minimum wage amount in Yukon. Chief Justice Duncan previously served on the board of the Homes First Society, an agency in Toronto that provides stable shelter and support to individuals who are among the hardest to house. She is also a co-author of the book The Law of Privilege in Canada.

Chief Justice Duncan was born in Oakville, Ont. She received a BA from Queen’s University in 1982 and a bachelor of laws in 1985, as well as a master of laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2000. Chief Justice Duncan was called to the Yukon bar in 2004.