Former Yarmouth Crown Michelle Christenson has been appointed a new provincial and family court judge in the province.TINA COMEAU PHOTO/
Michelle Christenson, who has served as a Crown attorney in Yarmouth for the past 10 years, is Nova Scotia's newest provincial and family court judge.
"I'm so pleased to appoint Ms. Christenson to the bench," said Attorney General and Justice Minister Lena Diab. "In addition to her years of experience in the justice system, she is an active member of the Yarmouth community. I'm confident she'll serve Nova Scotians well."
Christenson was called to the bar in 1996 and has been active in Yarmouth's legal community since then. Most recently, she worked as a senior Crown attorney in Yarmouth, having joined the Public Prosecution Service in 2003. Before that, she was in private practice, working primarily in family law.
Judges are appointed to both the provincial and family courts to allow flexibility in dealing with court workloads.
Christenson, whose appointment to the bench was effective Dec. 10, was appointed to both the Family and Provincial Courts. However, she will be presiding primarily in the Family Court in Yarmouth and Digby. She replaces Judge John Comeau who retired earlier this year and now sits in the Family Court on a part-time basis.
Planning for Judge Christenson's swearing-in ceremony is underway. Details will be made available on the Courts of Nova Scotia website as soon as they are finalized.
Those who are appointed judges in Nova Scotia are selected from a list of candidates put forth by the Committee on Provincial Judicial Appointments. The committee includes two members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, judges of the provincial and family courts, and four members appointed by the Minister of Justice. The committee recommendations are based on criteria in the Guidelines for Provincial Judicial Appointments.
The provincial court presides over almost all indictable offence charges under the Criminal Code, a charge of murder by an adult accused being the main exception, and has exclusive jurisdiction over all summary offence charges under provincial and federal statutes and regulations.
The family court provides a forum to hear family issues, including maintenance, custody and access, and child protection matters.
Christenson joins a growing list of former Yarmouth lawyers or Crown attorneys that have been appointed to the bench over the past two decades, including in more recent years. Among those on that list are Tim Landry, Marci Lin Melvin, Greg Warner, Pierre Muise, Robert Prince and Paul Scovil.
For more information on Nova Scotia courts, visit www.courts.ns.ca .