Supreme Court of British Columbia: A Wide Range of Work Built Justice Veronica Jackson's Credentials

Experience of new B.C. judge spans two provinces

Staff Writer - 28 May 2019

You don't have to take a traditional path, you just have to be true to your path," says Justice Veronica Jackson, '92 LLB.

Jackson not only made the somewhat rare move of leaving an established law practice in Manitoba to move to another province, she also changed career paths from Crown prosecutor to private practitioner to government lawyer before being appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in October 2018.

"I have a low boredom threshold. I credit my mother, who raised me, largely alone, to be curious and to be confident that there was nothing I didn't have the ability to do," she says.

By forging her own path, Jackson's strengths now run deep and broad. As a civil litigator with a Winnipeg law firm she built an expertise in professional regulatory work and accumulated experience at three levels of court, working personal injury cases, criminal defense work and representing one of the province's largest child protection agencies. In B.C., practising in the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General, she further broadened her knowledge of administrative law and regulation.

The lessons she learned as a Crown prosecutor at the outset of her career always informed her work. "I saw how different some people's lives are than mine, for no reason other than luck. I saw the lack of opportunity, the suffering that has been endured and it led me to remember that we are all just people and nobody is just one thing."

Yet when she interviewed for her articles, just two decades ago, a prospective employer skeptically asked how she could expect to be a woman, a mother and a lawyer at the same time.

Said Jackson: "Maybe I should give up being a woman because I've worked really hard to become a mother and a lawyer." A few years later, she was advancing equality and diversity issues as a member of the National Legal Committee of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).

As a new Vancouver-based judge, Jackson is equally certain about taking this role. "For some people, when they come into a courtroom, it's potentially the most overwhelming and most traumatic experience of their life, or what brought them there is. To play some small role in enabling them to access the justice that is theirs and to make that experience less terrifying, less overwhelming, I just couldn't say, no."