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Federal government appoints three new justices in Saskatchewan

Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
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The federal government has made three new judicial appointments in Saskatchewan.

The federal government has made three new judicial appointments in Saskatchewan.

Court of King’s Bench Justice Naheed Bardai has been appointed to the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan. Justice Bardai replaces Justice R. Leurer, who became Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan in October 2023.

Lawyer Rochelle Wempe, counsel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, has been appointed as a judge at Saskatoon Court of King’s Bench. She replaces Justice R.W. Elson who elected to become a supernumerary judge in November 2023.

Michael J. Morris, K.C., chairperson at the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in Regina, has been appointed to the Court of King’s Bench in Regina. He replaces Justice M.D. Tochor, who became Associate Chief Justice in the Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan in November 2023.

“I wish Justices Bardai, Wempe, and Morris every success as they take on their new roles,” said Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, in a media release April 22. “I am confident they will serve the people of Saskatchewan well as members of the Court of Appeal and the Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan.”

Justice Bardai was appointed to the Court of King’s Bench in 2020. He earned a degree in social sciences and law from the University of Ottawa. He was called to the Ontario bar in 2001 and to the Saskatchewan bar in 2004.

Justice Bardai is fluent in French and English.

Prior to his appointment in 2020, he was a partner in the civil litigation group of MLT Aikins LLP for 15 years. He was previously with the Ottawa law firm of Nelligan O’Brien Payne, where he practiced in the areas of civil litigation, construction, and condominium law. His litigation experience includes handling civil trials in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, on a host of issues.

Justice Bardai has served as President of the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers Association and has conducted seminars for the Canadian Bar Association’s civil litigation section and the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) articling student program. He has also been active in a number of community groups.

Justice Wempe grew up in small town Saskatchewan and obtained her B.A. and L.L.B. from the University of Saskatchewan in 2001. She was called to the Saskatchewan bar in 2002. She completed a master’s degree at Osgoode Hall Law School in 2011. 

Justice Wempe articled and spent the first years of her career with the Department of Justice, Canada and then the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. She practiced civil litigation and administrative law and handled Federal prosecutions in all levels of Court in Saskatchewan. After being seconded to the Ministry of Justice Saskatchewan in 2012, she worked as a Senior Crown Prosecutor with Provincial Prosecutions where she handled complex Criminal Code prosecutions throughout the province.

At the time of her appointment to the bench, she was in-house legal counsel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, where she practiced in the areas of professional regulation, policy and governance.    

Justice Wempe developed expertise in trauma informed approaches to sexual violence and represented complainants in sexual assault trials. She also contributed to initiatives aimed at promoting access to justice, including volunteering at the inner-city legal clinic (CLASSIC). As a Bencher with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, she acted as a hearing adjudicator, Chair of the Discipline Policy Committee, and was a member of the Governance, Nominations, Competency and Future of Legal Services Committees.  

Justice Wempe lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband and son. She enjoys staying active through CrossFit, hiking, canoeing, camping and snowboarding with her family and friends.   

Justice Morris, K.C., was born and raised in Regina and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan.

He later obtained a Master of Laws (Public International Law) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, while studying on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. He was called to the bar in Saskatchewan in 2004, placing first in the bar admission course.

Justice Morris clerked with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. He began his career in private practice, focusing on litigation. In 2008, he joined Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice and worked as a Crown Prosecutor for several years.

He joined the Ministry's Civil Law Branch in 2011 and was employed as Senior Crown Counsel prior to being appointed as the Director of Litigation in 2014. He has appeared before various tribunals and all levels of court in Saskatchewan, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. He was appointed King's Counsel in 2018 and was appointed as Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in 2023.

Justice Morris has presented on litigation and advocacy-related topics to different groups during his career. He served as President of the Rotary Club of Regina South and Chairperson of Rotary District 5550's Global Grants Committee.

Justice Morris and his wife, Melissa, are proud parents of their daughters, Kaitlyn and Claire.

The federal government has appointed more than 715 judges since November 2015. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of racialized persons, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.

Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.

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