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Three appointments for Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 1:01 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

The Superior Court of Justice for Ontario has three new judges sitting on its benches.

Nathalie Champagne, Pamela MacEachern and Tracey J. Nieckarz all received appointments.

Since 2015, Justice Champagne has been a case management master at the court. Prior to that, she spent 18 years at Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), last serving as director general for the eastern district. Justice Champagne has extensive mediation training and is known for her settlement skills in family law and civil litigation matters. She was in private practice, specializing in family law, criminal law and civil litigation before joining LAO.

Justice Champagne has been involved in a number of local court-based projects, including the first Family Law Information Centre in Ontario, Drug Treatment Court, Pathways Alternative Dispute Resolution and Coordinated Case Management.

She replaces Justice Joseph R. Henderson who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Dec. 31, 2017. Justice Henderson presided in St. Catharines, but due to internal transfers, Justice Champagne will preside in Cornwall.

Justice MacEachern is a partner at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP where she headed both the firm’s family law group and its wills and estates group. Her practice included family law, wills and estates, civil and personal injury litigation (especially those cases involving sexual violence), and human rights, constitutional and equality law (with a focus on cases involving violence, propagation of hate, defamation and prisoners’ rights).

As counsel, Justice MacEachern was involved in a number of precedent-setting cases including in the area of same-sex spousal recognition and the right to marry (Egan, M. v. H., Trinity Western, Little Sisters, the Marriage Reference), unjust enrichment claims for common law spouses (Vanasse v. Seguin/Kerr v. Baranow) and prisoners’ rights cases (R. v. Ewert).

Justice MacEachern was heavily involved with the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA), including being a founding member of its diversity committee and serving as the co-chair of its Family Law Institute Annual Conference since 2013. She has also acted as pro bono legal counsel to both the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and Egale Canada Human Rights Trust. In 2018, she was awarded with the Ontario Bar Association’s (OBA) award of excellence in the promotion of women’s equality.

Justice MacEachern will serve on both the Superior Court of Justice and the family court in Ottawa. Hers is a newly created position.

Justice Nieckarz is a partner at the Thunder Bay law firm Buset & Partners LLP, where her practice has focused on family law, including representing children through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. During her career, she has also acted as counsel to various institutional clients on a wide range of issues and has litigated corporate/commercial disputes, construction lien matters, bankruptcy issues, professional negligence and estate matters.

Justice Nieckarz was an instructor of the family law course at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University. She was an active member of the OBA and served on a number of committees, including being the northwestern Ontario regional representative on the OBA board of directors.

Justice Nieckarz will preside in Thunder Bay. She replaces Justice Helen M. Pierce who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective June 27, 2017.