Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Chief Justice in Canada and the first woman to hold the position.

Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Chief Justice in Canada and the first woman to hold the position.
Photo Credit: PC / PC/Fred Chartrand

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retiring from Supreme Court

Canada’s longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court and the first woman to hold the position will retire from the bench on Dec. 15, 2017, the nation’s highest court announced Monday.

In a statement posted on the Supreme Court’s website Beverley McLachlin said she would leave the court after serving for 28 years, including 17 years as the presiding judge.

“It has been a great privilege to serve as a justice of the Court, and later its Chief Justice, for so many years,” McLachlin wrote in a statement. “I have had the good fortune of working with several generations of Canada’s finest judges and best lawyers. I have enjoyed the work and the people I have worked with enormously.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated McLachlin on her coming retirement calling her “a judicial leader and trailblazer” whose “judicial accomplishments are unparalleled in Canadian history.”

“After 28 years at the Supreme Court of Canada, her contributions reach into every part of our law,” Trudeau said in a statement. “Canadians owe her an immense debt. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank Chief Justice McLachlin for her long and dedicated service to Canada.”

The 73-year-old jurist began her legal career in 1981 when she was appointed to the Vancouver County Court. In September 1981, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

In December 1985 she was elevated to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia where she served until her appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in September 1988. Seven months later, on April 17, 1989, she was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, following an appointed by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

She became the first woman to hold the top job on the country’s highest court after she was elevated to chief justice by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 2000.

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