Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced the appointment of Ritu Khullar, a judge of the Court of Appeal of Alberta, as the new Chief Justice of Alberta, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories, and Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nunavut.
Chief Justice Khullar replaces the Honourable Catherine A. Fraser, the first woman appointed Chief Justice of a province in Canada, who retired earlier this year.
“I wish the Honourable Ritu Khullar every success as she takes on her new role,” said Trudeau. “She is a respected member of the legal community and brings a wealth of experience in multiple areas of law to the bench. I am confident Chief Justice Khullar will be a great asset to the people of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.”
Khullar was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in 2017 and was elevated to the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut in 2018.
From 1998 until her appointment to the judiciary, she practised with Chivers Greckol & Kanee (now Chivers Carpenter Lawyers), where she focused on labour and employment, privacy, administrative, human rights, and constitutional law, and served as managing partner for eight years. She appeared before numerous administrative tribunals and every level of court in Canada including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Throughout her legal career, Chief Justice Khullar lectured at the University of Alberta and served on numerous committees of the Canadian Bar Association. She also acted pro bono in significant cases, including representing Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Khullar earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B. – Honours) from the University of Toronto. She clerked at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench before going into private practice.
Khullar was born in Fort Vermilion, Alberta, to parents who had immigrated from India. She spent her childhood in the small town of Morinville, Alberta. She and her spouse Robert have two adult sons.
Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of Cabinet and the recommendation of the Prime Minister.