Four judges appointed to Supreme Court Family Division

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The Nova Scotia Supreme Court welcomes four new judges to its Family Division, the first step in the move toward a single, unified court for all family law matters in the province.

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti made the announcement in a news release Monday morning. The Hon. Justice Raymond A. Morse was appointed to serve in Truro; The Hon. Justice Michelle K. Christenson will serve primarily in Yarmouth and Digby; The Hon. Justice Pamela Marche will preside in Sydney; and The Hon. Justice Paul Morris was appointed in Pictou. The appointments are effective immediately.

“Our Bench has been eagerly awaiting these new appointments and we are very pleased with the experience and caliber of the individuals who will be joining us on the Court,” said The Hon. Deborah K. Smith, Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. “Having more judges hearing family matters on a unified family court will help reduce delays and make the process clearer and less stressful for everyone.”

Up until now, family law matters were heard in either the Family Court of Nova Scotia or the Supreme Court (Family Division), and sometimes in both courts. 

The Supreme Court (Family Division), a unified family court, has jurisdiction to hear all family law matters, including divorce and the division of property. The Family Division currently sits in Halifax, Sydney and Port Hawkesbury.

Changes made to the province’s Judicature Act last March allow for an additional seven federal judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court (Family Division) to support the expansion of the unified family court model to other areas of the province. Today’s appointments are the first four of those seven positions. 

Justice Morse and Justice Christenson previously presided on the Family Court of Nova Scotia. Justice Morse also served as the Associate Chief Judge of the Family Court since 2015. Justice Marche and Justice Morris are new appointments.

The Hon. Paul Morris

Justice Paul Morris was raised in Nova Scotia, where he obtained a BA from Acadia University and his LL.B.  from Dalhousie University Law School. He was called to the bar in 1998 and practised as an associate and later as a partner with Patterson Law. His legal focus was primarily on family and insurance law. Most recently, Justice Morris was working as Lead Counsel with the Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia.

At the time of this appointment, Justice Morris was a dedicated volunteer and advocate for amateur sports in his community. He served on numerous professional committees and boards, including serving as chair of the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation.

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