Three Judges Appointed to Provincial Court
Three new judges have been appointed to the provincial court effective today, June 3. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Brad Johns named lawyers Kelly Serbu, QC, of Halifax, Nicole Ann Rovers of Antigonish, and Bradley Gordon Sarson of Bedford to the bench.
“Nova Scotians are fortunate to have these accomplished professionals joining the provincial court,” said Minister Johns. “They are experienced and respected lawyers and active members of their communities. They have all demonstrated professional integrity, good character and outstanding contributions to the practice of law.”
Mr. Serbu was a criminal defence lawyer in private practice. He is Metis and has practised law for more than 24 years. He acted as an adjudicator with the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat between 2008 and 2019. He has been legally blind since the age of 19. Mr. Serbu is a former vice-president of the Nova Scotia Criminal Lawyers Association and served on several of its committees. He has also served as President of the Canadian Blind Hockey Association for the past two years.
Ms. Rovers is a lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, where she focused on family, criminal and appeal work. She was called to the bar in 2002. Ms. Rovers has been President of the Antigonish Bar Association since 2017 and co-Chair of the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Mass Casualty Commission Working Group. She is a former women’s support worker with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association, acting as a social justice advocate and support person for women involved in the criminal justice and civil court systems.
Mr. Sarson is a senior staff counsel and former managing lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid. He was called to the bar in 1997 and specializes in criminal law. He is a member of the Nova Scotia Criminal Lawyers' Association and has served on several committees, including the Professional Standards (Criminal Law) Committee. He was a co-instructor of the criminal clinic program at the Schulich School of Law and Nova Scotia Legal Aid’s representative on the working group that helped establish the domestic violence court program in Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial court presides over most indictable offence charges under the Criminal Code.
- judges are selected by the government from a list of candidates recommended by the seven-member independent Advisory Committee on Provincial Judicial Appointments, which includes two members of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, a sitting judge of the provincial court, three public representatives and a retired member of the judiciary as Chair, all appointed by the Minister of Justice
- the committee recommendations are based on criteria in the Guidelines for Provincial Judicial Appointments
- appointments to the bench continue to be based on merit and professional excellence; gender, language/bilingualism, racial and cultural diversity, geographical representation and commitment to public service are among the criteria for the appointment of judges
- with these appointments, there are now 15 female and 14 male judges sitting full-time on the provincial court; 10 part-time judges also serve on the bench
The Provincial Judicial Appointments Guidelines and the application form are available at: https://novascotia.ca/just/Court_Services/
Information on Nova Scotia courts: https://www.courts.ns.ca/