Today, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the appointment of the Honourable Jasmine Akbarali as a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. Justice Akbarali is the first South Asian woman appointed to a provincial superior court anywhere in Canada.

“Justice Akbarali was an outstanding lawyer, and a credit to the profession,” said Ranjan Agarwal, President of SABA Toronto. “She will be an outstanding jurist, not just because of her unique background, but because of her compassion and intellect.”

In 2009, SABA Toronto awarded Justice Akbarali its Female Lawyer of the Year Award for her advocacy and commitment to public interest litigation. In November, Justice Akbarali will be honoured by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for “Excellence in Law”. She has been ranked by major legal publications, including Lexpert and Benchmark Litigation, for her legal acumen.

There are three other South Asian judges on provincial superior courts or courts of appeal: Justice Russell Juriansz of the Ontario Court of Appeal; Justice Suhail Akhtar of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto; and Justice Dev Dley of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Kamloops.

In addition, SABA Toronto is pleased with the reforms to the judicial appointment process announced by Attorney Wilson-Raybould. The requirement that groups nominating members to the Judicial Appointments Committees take into account the need to ensure that the JACs are diverse is especially important to a more representative and inclusive judiciary. “The Prime Minister promised us a more diverse bench. Today, he took a major step in fulfilling that promise,” said Agarwal.

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