Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Nova Scotia

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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Nova Scotia

by ahnationtalk on April 6, 2021147 Views

From: Department of Justice Canada

April 6, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

The Honourable Jean M. Dewolfe, a Judge of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia in Kentville, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Madam Justice Dewolfe fills one of three remaining positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1.

Lloyd I. Berliner, a partner at Patterson Law in Truro, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Family Division. Mr. Justice Berliner fills one of three remaining positions allocated to the Family Division further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1.

Gail L. Gatchalian, Q.C., a partner at Pink Larkin Lawyers in Halifax, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Madam Justice Gatchalian replaces Mr. Justice P.J. Duncan (Halifax), who was appointed Associate Chief Justice effective June 22, 2020. The Chief Justice has transferred Mr. Justice John Keith (Kentville) into this vacancy. The vacancy is therefore located in Kentville.


“I wish Justices Dewolfe, Berliner and Gatchalian every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve the people of Nova Scotia well as members of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.”

—The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Jean M. Dewolfe received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Acadia University in 1981 and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University in 1985. She was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1986.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Madam Justice Dewolfe was a Family Court Judge at the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia, where she had served since 2009. She sat in Kentville since 2017, in Truro from 2011 to 2017, and in Amherst from 2009 to 2011. Before being appointed to the Family Court, she practised primarily family law in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

Justice Dewolfe is currently a volunteer mentor of the Nova Scotia Black and Aboriginal Lawyers and Nova Scotia Judges. She has been the Chair of the Family Rules Committee and is a past president of the Nova Scotia Provincial Judges Association.

Justice Lloyd I. Berliner was born and raised in Montreal. He received his Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 1985. He then headed east and attended University of New Brunswick where he received his Bachelor of Laws in 1988. He was admitted to the Nova Scotia Barrister Society in 1990.

At the time of his appointment, Mr. Justice Berliner had completed almost 31 years of practice at Patterson Law in Truro, Nova Scotia, where he built an extensive family law practice. He represented clients throughout Nova Scotia and appeared at all levels of court in the province, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

In addition to his practice, Justice Berliner also volunteered extensively with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada (now known as Make a Wish Canada). He established the local sub chapter in Truro, sat on the provincial board, later represented Nova Scotia on the National board, and was a member of Nova Scotia Chapter Advisory Board at the time of his appointment. He was recognized for his dedication to the organization when presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.

Justice Berliner and his wife, Catherine, are the proud parents of daughters Jasmine and Sascha and stepson Matthew, and grandparents of Lily and Elijah.

Justice Gail L. Gatchalian, Q.C., graduated from Riverview Rural High School in Cape Breton in 1988, received a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Dalhousie University in 1993, and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1996.

Madam Justice Gatchalian articled with Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish in Toronto. She returned to Nova Scotia in 1999 to join Pink Larkin in Halifax, where she practised labour, employment, human rights, and constitutional law for 22 years. She received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2018.

Justice Gatchalian is a former President of the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Scotia Branch (CBANS), a former chair of the CBA National Labour and Employment Law Section, and former Equity Chair of the CBANS. Most recently, she was the Chair of the CBANS Sexual Harassment Work Group, having led the development and delivery of Empowering Bystanders training to address sexual harassment in legal workplaces. She also served as a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry Chair.

Justice Gatchalian is of mixed Filipino and Irish/Scottish descent. Her father, Dr. Celso Gatchalian, was from the Philippines. Her mother, Carol Gatchalian, is from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Together with her husband, Jose Farias, Justice Gatchalian has two daughters, ages 16 and 9, who are both Chinese-Canadian and her pride and joy.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 450 judges have been appointed since November 2015. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of visible minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 provides funding of $77.2 million over four years to support the expansion of unified family courts, beginning in 2019-2020. This investment in the family justice system will create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • Significant reforms to the role and structure of the Judicial Advisory Committees, aimed at enhancing the independence and transparency of the process, were announced on October 20, 2016.


For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
[email protected]

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
[email protected]


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