Justice Russell Brown of Alberta named to Supreme Court

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the appointment of Justice Russell Brown, of Alberta's Court of Appeal, to replace Justice Marshall Rothstein on the Supreme Court of Canada.

Brown has been a judge for 2½ years, will replace Justice Marshall Rothstein

Justice Russell Brown, right, is congratulated by Associate Chief Justice John Rooke after being sworn in to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench in 2013. Brown has been named to the Supreme Court of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (ualberta.ca)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the appointment of Justice Russell Brown, of Alberta's Court of Appeal, to replace Justice Marshall Rothstein on the Supreme Court of Canada.

A statement released by the Prime Minister's Office Monday said the appointment was effective Aug. 31.

Brown has been a judge for 2½ years. He was appointed to the Alberta Court of Appeal and the appeal courts of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in March 2014 after serving a year on the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

According to the PMO statement, Brown's legal experience is in the areas of commercial law, medical negligence, personal injury, trusts and estates and competition law.

"Mr. Justice Brown brings to the court wide experience as a law professor and legal scholar, a barrister, and a judge at both the trial court and appellate levels. His appointment is the result of broad consultations with prominent members of the legal community and we are confident he will be a strong addition to Canada's highest court," Harper was quoted as saying in the release.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin welcomed Brown's appointment in a release from the Supreme Court Tuesday.

"Justice Brown is a distinguished jurist. He brings a rich background as an academic, practitioner and judge. I look forward to his contributions to the court," McLachlin said in the release.

Before his appointment to the bench, Brown was associate professor and associate dean in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta, and served as associate counsel with the Edmonton law firm of Miller Thomson LLP. He also previously practised law in British Columbia.

Rothstein, who was appointed from Manitoba and confirmed in 2006, announced in the spring he was retiring at the end of the summer after nine years on the country's top court.

While some observers saw this as Saskatchewan's turn to have a judge elevated to the Supreme Court, Brown's appointment does maintain the court's current regional balance with two justices from Western Canada. McLachlin, an Alberta native, was appointed from British Columbia.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in Canada. Brown's appointment would maintain the court's full complement of nine justices, seven of whom were appointed during Harper's time in office.

The statement from the Supreme Court said the date for Brown's swearing-in would be announced at a later date.


  • This story has been updated from a previous version that incorrectly stated Justice Rothstein was appointed from Saskatchewan. In fact, he was appointed from Manitoba.
    Jul 27, 2015 7:18 PM ET


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