Federal Court of Appeal welcomes new judges: Justice Elizabeth Walker and Justice Vanessa Rochester

Photo: HR Law Canada/Canva

Arif Virani, federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, has announced the appointment of two new judges to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Justice Elizabeth Walker, previously serving on the Federal Court, steps into her new role in the Federal Court of Appeal, succeeding Justice D.J. Rennie who shifted to a supernumerary judge position as of March 6, 2023. Justice Walker’s legal journey is marked by notable achievements and contributions.

A 1986 summa cum laude graduate from the University of Ottawa and a 1987 Masters of Laws recipient from Oxford University, she was called to the Ontario Bar in 1989. Fluent in both English and French, Justice Walker’s career includes significant tenures at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and the National Capital Commission.

Her expertise spans corporate securities transactions and commercial issues, leading Osler’s Ottawa office from 2004 to 2014. Her influence extended to the technology sector and academia, actively participating as a speaker and guest lecturer. In 2014, she was appointed Chair of the RCMP External Review Committee, focusing on administrative, employment, and human rights law, while championing women’s advancement in the legal field.

Justice Vanessa Rochester, also ascending from the Federal Court, replaces Justice M. Rivoalen following her elevation to Chief Justice of Manitoba on May 31, 2023. Justice Rochester’s distinguished career in maritime and transportation law is underscored by her academic prowess, holding degrees from McGill University and a Ph.D. in maritime law from the University of Cape Town.

Her professional background includes working with maritime law scholar William Tetley and practicing in prominent global cities such as London and Singapore. Recognized as a leader in her field by several industry publications, Justice Rochester has been an influential voice on maritime law and gender diversity, holding key positions in organizations like the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association and the Canadian Maritime Law Association.

In a statement, The Hon. Arif Virani expressed his confidence in Justices Walker and Rochester, stating, “I wish Justices Walker and Rochester every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Canadians well as members of the Federal Court of Appeal.”

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