Beverly Browne

From 1999 – 2009 Beverly Browne served as Nunavut’s first and only senior presiding judge over the Nunavut Court of Justice.
1990 - 1999 - Her previous appointment was to the Territorial Court as Judge in the Northwest Territories.
In 2009 she was appointed Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

  • Graduated from the Faculty of Law in the University of Alberta in 1975

  • 1976 – Called to the Bar of Alberta and of the Northwest Territories

  • 1977 – Articled with the law firm of Searle Sigler in Yellowknife

  • 1978 – 1979 – Practiced law with Searle Sigler in Yellowknife

  • 1979 – 1982 She practiced law with Wright, Chivers & Company and with Freeland, Royal, McCrum & Browne, in Edmonton, Alberta.

  • 1982 – 1990 – She was a sole practioner in Vermillion, AB

  • 1990 – Appointed to the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories Court in Iqaluit

  • 1999 – 2009 – Appointed to the Supreme Court of Nunavut. Bill C-57 was enacted on March 11, 1999, thereby creating the Nunavut Court of Justice. Madame Justice Browne was appointed to this Court as it first Senior Judge

  • 2009 – Present - Appointed Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Accomplishments & Precedents Include:

(All from NunatsiaqOnline, from Sept. 2009)

When Nunavut was born in 1999, she became the first senior judge in Canada’s newest and largest territory, responsible for running – and in many ways creating – the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Alexina Kublu, Nunavut’s senior Justice of the Peace under Browne until she was appointed Language Commissioner in 2008, lists some of the senior judge’s accomplishments in the first 10 years of Nunavut:

  • Create a single-tier court system unique in Canada to make the court simpler and more accessible to ordinary Nunavummiut

  • Have community elders sit with the courts, and directly address those convicted of crimes during sentencing

  • Institute peer involvement in sentencing for young people, through youth justice panels

  • Improve the justice of the peace program to the point where Nunavut now (2009) has about 100 JPs; and

  • Develop the Akitsiraq law school program which is now (as of 2009) ramping up for its second intake of students, the first having produce 10 Inuit lawyers.

Teena Haartman, director of the Keewatin Legal Services Centre, says: Browne’s decisions recognizing the special nature of Inuit customary adoptions – where the adopted child often retains close ties with his or hers biological family – are now being cited in Australia Courts dealing with similar situations among the aboriginal peoples of the Papuan Islands.