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Three judges appointed to Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Tuesday, April 06, 2021 @ 4:58 PM | By John Chunn


Three judges were appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on April 6. Two of those appointments fill new positions on the province’s Unified Family Court.

According to a news release from the Nova Scotia Judiciary, Justices Jean M. DeWolfe and Lloyd I. Berliner will sit on the Supreme Court (Family Division) and Justice Gail L. Gatchalian will sit on the Supreme Court (General Division).

The appointments are effective immediately.

“These appointments are a bright spot in what has been a difficult and challenging year for the Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Deborah K. Smith. “Although these judges are joining the bench in the midst of a pandemic and the unprecedented changes that have come with it, I am confident their experience and expertise will help them step seamlessly into their new roles. On behalf of the entire court, I want to congratulate them on this significant achievement.”

Justice Dewolfe received a BA (Honours) from Acadia University in 1981 and a bachelor of laws from Dalhousie University in 1985.

She was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in 1986 and joined the firm Muttart Tufts Dewolfe and Coyle, where she was made partner in 1990. During her time there, she primarily practised family law.

Justice DeWolfe was first appointed a judge of the provincial and family courts of Nova Scotia in November 2009. Since then, she has presided primarily in family court in Kentville, Truro and Amherst.

Justice Berliner was born and raised in Montreal. He received his BA from McGill University in 1985. He went on to enrol at the University of New Brunswick, where he received his LLB in 1988. He was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in 1990.

At the time of his appointment, Justice Berliner had completed almost 31 years of practice at Patterson Law in Truro, where he built an extensive family law practice. He represented clients throughout the province and appeared at all levels of court in Nova Scotia, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Gatchalian graduated with a bachelor of science (Honours) from Dalhousie University in 1993, and a bachelor of laws from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1996.

She articled with Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish in Toronto before returning to Nova Scotia in 1999 to join Pink Larkin in Halifax. During her 22 years with the firm, she practised labour, employment, human rights and constitutional law. She received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2018.