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Three judges appointed to Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

Wednesday, June 03, 2020 @ 4:09 PM | By John Chunn


The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 3 announced the appointment of three judges in the province of Alberta.

According to the DOJ’s press release, Denise J. Kiss, counsel at Bruyer Mackay Family Law in Edmonton, is appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Justice Kiss replaces Justice Donald J. Manderscheid (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 19, 2019.

Sherry L. Kachur, partner at WK Family Lawyers in Calgary, is appointed a justice of the Court of Queen's Bench. Justice Kachur replaces Justice Karen M. Horner (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 26, 2020.

Thomas Rothwell, assistant deputy minister of the Legal Services Division at the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta in Edmonton, is appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Justice Rothwell replaces Justice Vital O. Ouellette (Edmonton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Jan. 3, 2020.

Justice Kiss earned a BA with distinction in criminology from the University of Alberta in 1987. She graduated from the University of Alberta Law School in 1991 and completed her articles of clerkship with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal and with the law firm Milner Fenerty.

Immediately after completing her articles, Justice Kiss joined the boutique law firm of Rand Moreau in Edmonton, where she practised family law exclusively for more than 27 years. She has extensive litigation experience, having appeared before all three levels of court in as well as the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. She was an early advocate of alternative dispute resolution processes and assisted parties by mediating their disputes in her private practice for over 20 years.

Justice Kachur holds a BA (criminology) degree and a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alberta. She first articled, and was called to the bar, in British Columbia and subsequently continued her practice in Alberta.

For most of her career, Justice Kachur has practised primarily in the area of family law, most recently as a partner and co-founder of WK Family Lawyers LLP (originally Widdowson Kachur Ostwald Menzies LLP). She sat as the decision maker in numerous arbitral proceedings. She is a past president of the Calgary Bar Association and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012.

Justice Rothwell was born in Edmonton. He received his BA from the University of Alberta in 1993 and graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 1997.

Justice Rothwell served as law clerk to Justice J.C. Major at the Supreme Court of Canada. He then joined the Edmonton firm of Reynolds, Mirth, Richards and Farmer LLP in 1998. In 2004, he accepted a position with Alberta Justice and practised in the areas of Aboriginal, constitutional and health law; most recently, he held the position of assistant deputy minister, Legal Services Division. In this role, Justice Rothwell had the privilege of leading a team of approximately 225 lawyers and was responsible for overseeing the delivery of legal and strategic advice on myriad matters to the government of Alberta.

Justice Rothwell has always enjoyed teaching and mentoring new lawyers and has co-taught constitutional litigation at the University of Alberta Law School for the past seven years. He sat on the board of the Alberta Law Foundation and currently sits on the board of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta.