U of A to honour new Chief Justice

The Honourable Chief Justice Mary Moreau is already making her mark on Court of Queen's Bench

Gillian Rutherford - 10 June 2019

The Honourable Mary Moreau, first female Chief Justice of Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench, will be conferred with an honorary doctor of laws degree by the University of Alberta on June 12.

"It is a testament to Chief Justice Moreau's vision, commitment and hard work that in just her first year leading the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, the Court has made tremendous headway with some its most vexing issues, including case backlogs, trial delays and lack of courtroom space," said the Faculty of Law's Dean Paul Paton.

"My vision for the Court is that it be recognized as a modern institution that is independent and effective in its role in administering justice and connected to the communities it serves," said Moreau.

"To accomplish this, our Court's strategic planning is focussed on modernizing and improving our external communications, moving our court processes into the electronic age, advancing diversity and inclusion, and promoting early and effective conflict resolution," she said.

Since taking on the Chief Justice role in October 2017, Moreau has encouraged alternate conflict resolution, especially in family law cases, improved the courtroom booking system, and supported the expansion of court facilities.

The Court also has a new Twitter account and is considering a policy to allow media cameras during some trials.

"She has opened the channels of communication to the public about the Court's work in interesting and creative ways, and continues to model and inspire our graduates as one of the leading alumnae populating the highest judicial offices," said Paton.

"We are thrilled to thank her for her service to her profession, to the Franco-Albertan community and indeed to the people of this province, and celebrate the University's award of an honorary doctor of laws degree for these achievements," he said.

Moreau practiced criminal, constitutional and civil law in Edmonton and litigated landmark Charter cases involving minority language rights. She co-founded the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Alberta and has presided over French-language and bilingual trials.

Moreau has taken leadership roles throughout her career with a focus on ethics, professional development and education. She headed the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association in 2011-12, co-chaired in the spring the National Judicial Institute's Criminal Law Conference for six years, and travelled to Ukraine to support legal reform.

Moreau said she continues to rely on skills learned during her law studies.

"I think the most valuable lesson from my law school years that has helped me throughout my legal career did not come from one subject area in particular," she said. "It was learning how to think critically - how to go about carefully analyzing a legal problem from all perspectives and avoid rushing to judgment."