Calgary lawyer Christopher D. Simard appointed as justice of Court of King’s Bench

Justice Christopher D. Simard.

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, has announced the appointment of Christopher D. Simard, a partner at Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary, as a Justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary.

Christopher D. Simard will assume his new role, replacing Justice M.D. Gates (Calgary), who resigned from the position, effective April 15, 2022. Minister Lametti expressed his confidence in Justice Simard’s ability to serve the people of Alberta, stating, “I wish Justice Simard every success as he takes on his new role. I am confident he will serve Albertans well as a member of the Court of King’s Bench.”

Born and raised in Calgary, Justice Christopher D. Simard earned his LL.B. from the University of Alberta in 1996, where he was awarded the George Bligh O’Connor Silver Medal. After completing his studies, he served as a law clerk with the Court of Appeal of Alberta and the Alberta Court of King’s Bench in Edmonton. He then pursued a Master’s Degree in law at the University of Oxford, after completing his articles of clerkship with Bennett Jones LLP.

Throughout his career, Justice Simard has been a dedicated lawyer at Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary, specializing in bankruptcy and restructuring, as well as commercial litigation.

Justice Simard has actively volunteered his time, particularly focusing on charities and not-for-profit organizations that support children and advance children’s rights. He served on the Board of UNICEF Canada for two consecutive six-year terms, beginning in 2007, and chaired the Board from 2019 to 2022. Additionally, he was a board member of Trellis Society, a Calgary-based not-for-profit that works with children, youth, and families to unlock their potential and provide support for their growth.

Justice Simard has been happily married to his wife, Hanita, for 27 years, and they are proud parents of two daughters.

The appointment of Justice Simard aligns with the Government of Canada’s commitment to promoting a diverse judiciary. Since November 2015, more than 625 judges have been appointed, with over half of them being women. These appointments reflect increased representation from visible minorities, Indigenous communities, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, and those with disabilities.

To address the needs of the courts and improve access to justice, the Government of Canada is actively expanding the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 has allocated funds for 22 new judicial positions, including two associate judges at the Tax Court of Canada. Combined with the 13 positions created under Budget 2021, this brings the total number of newly established superior court positions to 37. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.

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