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Feds appoint four judges to Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Thursday, March 04, 2021 @ 12:39 PM | By John Chunn


The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) announced four judicial appointments to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

John Alexander Finlayson, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court Branch. Justice Finlayson replaces Justice Allan R. Rowsell (Oshawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 23, 2020.

Rita-Jean Maxwell, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario.  Justice Maxwell replaces Justice Michael G. Quigley (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 14, 2020.

Janet E. Mills, case management master at the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Justice Mills replaces Justice R.J. Harper (Brantford), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 1, 2018. The chief justice has transferred Justice David Broad (Kitchener) into this vacancy and Justice Michael Gibson (Milton) into the vacancy of Justice Broad. The vacancy is therefore located in Milton.

Marie-Andrée Vermette, partner at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Justice Vermette replaces Justice Paul M. Perell (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective May 5, 2020.

According to the DOJ press release, Justice Finlayson graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2001 and was called to the bar in 2002.

Justice Finlayson practised family law for 15 years and was active in various legal organizations and a frequent contributor to continuing legal education programs. In July 2017, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice. Since that time, he has presided over family law, child protection and youth criminal justice matters in downtown Toronto.

Justice Finlayson served as a member of the Ontario Court of Justice’s local education committee, which organizes continuing legal education programs for members of the family law bar. He presented at several conferences to both judges and lawyers about family law, evidence and procedure, and he volunteered annually as a judge for the Walsh Negotiation Moot. In May 2019, he became co-chair of family law education for judges of the Ontario Court of Justice. In that capacity, he was also a member of the Court’s Education Secretariat and served on the board of the Association of Ontario Judges.

Justice Maxwell received her BA from Harvard University, her J.D. from the University of Toronto and her LL.M from Georgetown Law School. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2002.

After beginning her career in civil litigation at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Justice Maxwell became an assistant Crown attorney conducting criminal prosecutions in Toronto. Before her appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2017, she served as legal counsel to the Court of Appeal for Ontario from 2015 to 2017.

Justice Mills received her J.D. from the University of Ottawa in 1991 and was called to the Ontario bar in 1993. She received her mediator accreditation from the Harvard Negotiation Institute and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She has written and spoken extensively on domestic and international commercial arbitration.

Justice Mills has spent her career in the field of dispute resolution, first as a lawyer in the global disputes resolution group with Baker & McKenzie LLP, where she specialized in international commercial arbitration, corporate/commercial litigation, domestic and cross-border bankruptcy and insolvency, global business risk management and the defence of class action proceedings. She appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She was a founding member of Bay Street Chambers, a private dispute resolution group, where she continued her practice from the other side of the table as a mediator and arbitrator. Justice Mills was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice as a case management master in 2008.

Justice Vermette received her bachelor of civil law and common law degrees from the Faculty of Law at McGill University and was the recipient of the Elizabeth Torrance Gold Medal. In 2001, she received a master of laws from Columbia University, where she earned the distinction of being named a James Kent Scholar. She was called to the Quebec bar in 1998 and to the Ontario bar in 2001.

Prior to her appointment, Justice Vermette was a partner with WeirFoulds in Toronto, where she practised civil, commercial and public law litigation for almost 20 years. She was chair of the firm’s commercial litigation practice group. Before joining WeirFoulds, she had worked briefly with the Department of Justice Canada in the area of criminal law and served as law clerk to Justice Charles D. Gonthier at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Vermette has been involved in the legal community and the Franco-Ontarian community for several years. Prior to her appointment, she was vice-president of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario; a member of the board of governors of the Université de l’Ontario français; and a member of the boards of Avocats hors Québec and Le Labo. She also served on the board of directors of The Advocates’ Society from 2016 to 2020.