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Ottawa announces seven judicial appointments for Ontario

Thursday, September 06, 2018 @ 11:52 AM | By John Chunn


The federal Department of Justice on Aug. 31 announced the following judicial promotions and appointments for the province of Ontario:

Alison Harvison Young, a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, is appointed a justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She replaces Justice Eileen Gillese, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Justice Harvison Young was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2004. At the time of her appointment, she was a professor and the dean of the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.  After obtaining a B.A. (first class honours) from Carleton University, Justice Harvison Young earned both LL.B. and B.C.L. degrees from McGill University Faculty of Law. She served as a law clerk to the Justice W.Z. Estey at the Supreme Court of Canada and then practised law in Toronto before studying at the University of Oxford, where she obtained a B.C.L. degree in 1988. Since her appointment to the bench, Justice Harvison Young, who is bilingual, has heard and written in a wide range of areas including civil, criminal and commercial matters, as well as administrative and family law.

Barry M. Tobin, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the family court in London, Ont. He replaces Justice M. McSorley, who resigned effective April 30, 2018.

Justice Tobin received his B.A. from Dalhousie University in 1974 and his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1977. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1979. Prior to being appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2009, he practised in London, where he was a partner with the firm Marcus Tobin until 2002, and then with Brown Beattie O’Donovan, practising mainly in the area of family law, including mediation and arbitration. While in private practice, he appeared in all levels of court in Ontario. He acted as an agent for the Children’s Lawyer representing children in child protection cases and in custody and access disputes. As an active member of his community, Justice Tobin volunteered with organizations dedicated to helping children and their families.

As a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, he sat in Windsor, where he dealt primarily with family law cases and served on the Family Rules Committee. Justice Tobin also had the privilege of serving as a member of the Family Justice Working Group of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. In addition, he frequently wrote and presented on various family law topics at legal education programs for the bench, bar and law students. He is a co-author of McLeod’s Ontario Family Law Rules Annotated.

Judy A. Fowler Byrne, a partner at Miller Thomson LLP, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton. She replaces Justice Francine Van Melle, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 15, 2017.

Justice Fowler Byrne was born in Toronto to a family with strong Newfoundland roots. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and her law degree at the University of Western Ontario. She practised several years with Landy Marr and Associates (now Landy Marr Kats LLP) in Toronto before eventually settling in Guelph, which she now calls home. After spending several years in the golf business, she joined the southwestern Ontario offices of Miller Thomson, where she maintained a litigation practice focusing on family law, estate litigation and commercial disputes.

Gillian E. Roberts, counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. She replaces Justice Anne M. Molloy, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 1, 2018.

Justice Roberts was born and raised in Halifax, the middle of three girls close in age. She did her undergraduate degree at Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, took a year off to work and travel, and then returned for law school, graduating in 1993. Since being called to the bar in 1995, she has worked as counsel at the Ontario Attorney General’s Crown Law Office – Criminal, where she has prosecuted cases at every level of court. She has argued numerous appeals in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including many complex and high-profile murder appeals and appeals raising difficult and important constitutional issues.

Nancy L. Dennison, counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton. She replaces Justice Joseph M. Fragomeni, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Jan. 15, 2018.

Justice Dennison received her B.A. from Western University and her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. Justice Dennison articled at the Ontario Attorney General’s Crown Law Office – Criminal. Upon being called to the bar in 1997, she worked briefly as a Crown attorney in Newmarket and Etobicoke before joining the Federal Prosecution Service. As federal Crown counsel, she prosecuted drug and tax fraud offences and argued criminal appeals. In 2006, she became senior counsel at the Department of Justice. Her practice focused on extradition law, mutual legal assistance law and constitutional law. In 2017, she returned to the Crown Law Office – Criminal, where her practice focused on criminal appeals and search and seizure law. Justice Dennison has appeared at all levels of court, including the Ontario Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada.

Suranganie Kumaranayake, counsel at the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton. She replaces Justice D. Fletcher Dawson, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 11, 2018.

Justice Kumaranayake holds a B.A. (honours) in psychology and sociology from Queen’s University, an LL.B. from the University of Windsor, and a Certificate in Mental Health from Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development. Prior to her appointment, Justice Kumaranayake practised exclusively in child protection for close to 16 years, initially as legal counsel with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. In December 2003, she joined the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton as legal counsel. Prior to entering the field of child protection, she worked as staff criminal duty counsel. In this role, she appeared in several courthouses throughout Toronto, as well as in the specialized court programs at Old City Hall: the Toronto drug treatment court, mental health court, integrated domestic violence court and Gladue court.

Breese Davies, principal at Breese Davies Law, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. She replaces Justice Thomas R. Lederer, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 9, 2018.

Justice Davies received her B.A., LL.B. and M.A. in criminology from the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 2000. Prior to her appointment, she practised in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law and professional regulation in Toronto. Justice Davies’ trial practice focused mainly on complex criminal matters, including national security, homicide and sexual assault cases. She often acted pro bono for public interest organizations before the Supreme Court of Canada and served as duty counsel for unrepresented appellants in criminal matters before the Ontario Court of Appeal. Justice Davies was counsel in several prominent public inquiries and inquests. She was involved in the Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in relation to Maher Arar, which examined national security investigations and information sharing among intelligence agencies. She was also counsel for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies at the Inquest into the Death of Ashley Smith, which examined how the Correctional Service of Canada treats individuals with significant mental health challenges.