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Ottawa promotes two jurists, appoints four others in Quebec

Thursday, October 01, 2020 @ 1:38 PM | By John Chunn


The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 1 announced six judicial appointments in the province of Quebec.

Guy Cournoyer, a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec. Justice Cournoyer replaces Justice Nicholas Kasirer, who was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada on Sept. 16, 2019.

Sophie Lavallée, a professor of the Faculty of Law at Université Laval in Quebec, is appointed a puisne judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec. Justice Lavallée replaces Justice Dominique Bélanger, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 25, 2020.

Tiziana Di Donato, a counsel at Morency, Société d’avocats in Montreal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. Justice Di Donato replaces Justice Benoît Emery (Montreal), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Dec. 12, 2019.

Marie-Hélène Montminy, a partner at Carter Gourdeau Avocats s.e.n.c.r.l. in Quebec, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Quebec. Justice Montminy replaces Justice Denis Jacques (Quebec), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Jan. 5, 2020.

Alexander Pless, senior general counsel at the DOJ in Montreal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. Justice Pless replaces Justice Carole Hallée (Montreal), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Jan. 30, 2020.

Katheryne Alexandra Desfossés, a lawyer at Cain Lamarre in Drummondville, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. Justice Desfossés replaces Justice Kirkland Casgrain (Montreal), who resigned effective Feb. 1, 2020.

According to the DOJ's press release Justice Cournoyer received a bachelor of laws degree in 1986 from the Université du Québec à Montréal and was admitted to the bar of Quebec in 1987.

In 2007, Justice Cournoyer was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec (Montreal). At the time of his appointment, he was a partner with Shadley Battista, s.e.n.c., where he had developed his bilingual practice expertise in the areas of criminal law, military and disciplinary law, and the law and practice of public inquiries. 

Justice Lavallée has been a professor in the Faculty of Law at Université Laval since 2001, and served as law clerk at the Superior Court of Quebec (1996-98). She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Université Laval and her doctorate from Université de Montréal and Université de Nice.

Called to the Barreau du Québec in 1997, Justice Lavallée has regularly served as legal counsel on matters of environmental law and land use planning, notably for the Ministère de l’Environnement du Québec and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. She was awarded the Prix Minerve for her PhD dissertation on environmental law. She was co-author of the 4th edition of La Preuve civile with professor Jean-Claude Royer and co-published a monograph on environmental law with professor Jean-Maurice Arbour, which won the Quebec Bar Foundation award.

Justice Di Donato received a bachelor of laws degree from Université de Sherbrooke in 1992 and was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1994. She also earned a common law certificate from Dalhousie University in 1991. She is perfectly trilingual (English, French and Italian).

Justice Di Donato began her practice at Desjardins Ducharme and became a partner in the firm in 2002. She joined the Morency law firm in 2010 and has over 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation, particularly in banking law, corporate insolvency and redress, as well as shareholder disputes, disputes involving non-competition and non-solicitation restrictive covenants, injunctions, and other extraordinary remedies and proceedings, including Anton Piller orders.

Justice Montminy was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1999 after receiving a bachelor of laws degree from Université Laval in 1998.

Justice Montminy began her practice with Pouliot L’Ecuyer in civil and commercial litigation and bankruptcy and insolvency law. She joined the Joli-Coeur Lacasse team in early 2007 following the merger of these two firms. At the time of her appointment, Justice Montminy was a partner with Carter Gourdeau, where she had been practising as a litigator since 2011, primarily in insurance law. This practice led to work in several other areas of law, including civil law, professional and municipal liability and construction law. She has argued before all levels of court in Quebec.

Justice Pless received a BA in philosophy from McGill University in 1994. He received an LL. B and BCL from McGill’s Faculty of Law in 1998 and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University in 2005. He was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1999.

Justice Pless has dedicated his career to public service and teaching. After completing his articles with the Quebec Regional Office of the DOJ in 1999, he joined the office as litigation counsel and was appointed senior general counsel in 2019. He has pleaded before all levels of courts and was among the group of DOJ lawyers selected to represent the Attorney General of Canada before the Supreme Court of Canada. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, administrative law, civil litigation and Crown liability.

Justice Desfossés received a bachelor of laws degree from Université Laval in 2002 and was called to the Barreau du Québec in 2003.

Justice Desfossés began her legal career in 2003 and served as a law clerk to the judges of the Tax Court of Canada. In 2004, she continued her career as a lawyer with Irving Mitchell & Associates (now IMK) in Montreal in the field of civil and commercial litigation. In 2011, she joined Cain Lamarre Casgrain Wells (now Cain Lamarre) in Drummondville, where she practised as a civil and commercial litigation lawyer in the Montreal area, Estrie and Centre-du-Québec regions.

Along with her practice, Justice Desfossés has been a lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke since 2007 and at the school of the Barreau de Sherbrooke since 2009. She received the Université de Sherbrooke’s Recognition for Teaching Quality award as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law.