Thursday, September 20, 2018

Two alumnae have received judicial appointments in Ontario from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Gillian E. Roberts ('93), counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto.

Justice Roberts was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the middle of three girls close in age. She did her undergraduate degree at Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, took a year off to work and travel, and then returned for law school, graduating in 1993. Since being called to the bar in 1995, she has worked as counsel at the Ontario Attorney General’s Crown Law Office – Criminal, where she has prosecuted cases at every level of court. She has argued numerous appeals in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including many complex and high-profile murder appeals and appeals raising difficult and important constitutional issues.

Justice Roberts is deeply committed to education. She has served as an advocacy advisor to the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute (providing free advocacy advice to counsel with upcoming appeals in the Supreme Court of Canada), taught trial advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School, and lectured on various topics to justice participants and students. She previously ran an annual Crown school course on expert evidence, managed the summer student program at the Crown Law Office, and coached the Osgoode Hall Gale Cup mooting team.

Justice Roberts is the proud mother of two boys. She was very involved in their elementary school, the Jackman Institute for Child Study, and coached both of their soccer teams until they took up baseball instead. She has been a board member at the Adoption Council of Ontario, and at her neighborhood hockey rink

Breese Davies ('98), principal at Breese Davies Law, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto.

Justice Davies received her B.A., LL.B. and M.A. in criminology from the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2000. Prior to her appointment, she practised in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law and professional regulation in Toronto.

Justice Davies’ trial practice focused mainly on complex criminal matters, including national security, homicide and sexual assault cases. She often acted pro bono for public interest organizations before the Supreme Court of Canada and served as duty counsel for unrepresented appellants in criminal matters before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Justice Davies was counsel in several prominent public inquiries and inquests. She was involved in the Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in relation to Maher Arar, which examined national security investigations and information sharing among intelligence agencies. She was also counsel for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies at the Inquest into the Death of Ashley Smith, which examined how the Correctional Service of Canada treats individuals with significant mental health challenges.

Throughout her career, Justice Davies has been dedicated to legal education. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. In 2017, Justice Davies was the Constitutional Litigator in Residence with the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights.

Justice Davies was a vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association for five years. In that role, she worked on initiatives to retain women in the private practice of criminal law and to improve diversity in the criminal bar. In 2017, she received the Laura Legge Award, presented by the Law Society of Upper Canada to recognize women lawyers who have exemplified leadership in the profession.

In her spare time, Justice Davies is completing a culinary arts diploma from George Brown College. She is also willing to take on just about any physical challenge. She is an avid canoe tripper, has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and has run the Cabot Trail Relay several times. Currently, she is training for her first 70.3 triathlon.

Read the full announcement on the Government of Canada website.