2014 WILL Award Winners

Leadership in the Profession (Private Practice) – Marie L. Gordon, Q.C.

Leadership in the Profession (In-House or Government) – Kathryn Chisholm, Q.C.

Leadership in the Profession (Broader Roles) – Diana Lowe, Q.C.

Leadership in the Community – Mona Duckett, Q.C.

Leadership in the Community – Patricia Hebert

Tomorrow’s Leader – Heather Barnhouse

2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
The Honourable Catherine Anne Fraser
Chief Justice of Alberta

Noel Zinger mpaThe Honourable Catherine Anne Fraser was appointed Chief Justice of Alberta in 1992, the first woman appointed chief justice of a province in Canada.

Born in Campbellton, New Brunswick, she graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 1970 as the Silver Medalist and received her Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1972. She was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1971 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1983. She practiced law in Edmonton, concentrating on corporate and commercial law and also served as Chair of the Alberta Public Service Employee Relations Board.

Chief Justice Fraser’s judicial career began with her appointment to the Court of Queen’s Bench in 1989. She was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1991 and appointed Chief Justice of Alberta and Chief Justice of the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal the following year. On the creation of Nunavut in 1999, she was appointed Chief Justice of the Nunavut Court of Appeal.

Chief Justice Fraser has been a member of the Canadian Judicial Council since her appointment as Chief Justice in 1992 and has served in many roles including Chair of the Council’s Education Committee for two terms. As a member of the Council’s Special Committee on Equality in the Courts, she played a leadership role in the Council’s decision to endorse judicial education programs for Canadian judges on social context issues including gender equality, racial and ethnic equity and Aboriginal justice. Chief Justice Fraser also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute from 2004 to 2008 and is currently a member of the Council’s Executive Committee.

The dominant theme of the career of Chief Justice Fraser has been her devotion to the rule of law, constitutionalism, access to equal justice and the protection of rights and freedoms for all individuals. She recognizes that judicial independence and judicial accountability go hand in hand in preserving public confidence in the delivery of justice.

She has been a long-time proponent of court administration reform in Canada. Her primary message is that modernizing the governance model for court administration will foster systemic reform and improve responsiveness and accountability to the public.

Over the past two decades, Chief Justice Fraser has advocated for the rule of law, judicial independence and human rights internationally. She has been involved in judicial education initiatives in Australia, New Zealand, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Croatia, Taiwan, Zimbabwe and, most recently, the Palestinian Territories. She has worked with judges from many of these countries and spoken and written on a wide range of topics.

Chief Justice Fraser is the recipient of honourary doctorates of law from the University of Alberta (2013), University of Windsor (2012), the University of Calgary (2007) and the University of Lethbridge (2006).