Justice John Alexander Finlayson, who practised family law for 15 years, joins Family Court Branch
David Lametti, federal justice minister and attorney general, has announced the appointments of Rita–Jean Maxwell, Janet Mills, Marie–Andrée Vermette and John Alexander Finlayson as judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, with Finlayson assigned to the Family Court Branch.
According to a news release of the Department of Justice Canada dated Mar. 3, Justice Maxwell takes the place of Justice Michael Quigley in Toronto, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Apr. 14, 2020. Maxwell has served as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto since 2017, as legal counsel to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, as assistant Crown attorney in Toronto and as a civil litigator at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. She has worked with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Justice Maxwell has been involved with the LAWS Program, with the Roundtable on Diversity, with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and with the University of Toronto Future Black Lawyers Program. She has taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, at Osgoode Hall Law School, at Ryerson Law School and at several continuing legal education programs.
Called to the Ontario bar in 2002, Justice Maxwell earned her BA from Harvard University, her JD from the University of Toronto and her LLM from Georgetown Law School. Born to a Ghanaian father and Irish-Acadian mother, she grew up in northern New Brunswick.
Justice Mills replaced Justice R. John Harper, who was assigned to Brantford and who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 1, 2018. Justice David Broad in Kitchener transfers to the vacancy in Brantford, while Justice Michael Gibson in Milton transfers to the vacancy in Kitchener, so the present vacancy is in Milton. Justice Mills became a case management master at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto in 2008.
Justice Mills has served as a member of the global disputes resolution group at Baker & McKenzie LLP, where she focused on international commercial arbitration, corporate and commercial litigation, domestic and cross-border bankruptcy and insolvency, global business risk management and the defence of class actions and as founding member, mediator and arbitrator at Bay Street Chambers.
A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Justice Mills obtained her JD from the University of Ottawa, her mediator accreditation from the Harvard Negotiation Institute and her admission to the Ontario bar in 1993.
Justice Vermette took the place of Justice Paul Perell in Toronto, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective May 5, 2020. With WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto, she has served as a partner practising civil, commercial and public law litigation and as chairperson of the firm’s commercial litigation practice group. She has worked at the Department of Justice Canada and at the Supreme Court of Canada as a law clerk to Justice Charles Gonthier.
Justice Vermette has been vice-president of the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario, a member of the board of governors of the Université de l'Ontario français, a member of the boards of Avocats hors Québec and Le Lab and a member of the board of directors of the Advocates’ Society.
Called to the Quebec bar in 1998 and to the Ontario bar in 2001, Justice Vermette earned her Bachelor of Civil Law and Common Law degrees from the Faculty of Law at McGill University and her LLM from Columbia University.
Justice Finlayson replaced Justice Allan Rowsell in Oshawa, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Nov. 23, 2020. Following his appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto in 2017, he has served as co-chairperson of family law education for the judges, as a member of the court’s local education committee, as a member of the Court’s Education Secretariat and as a board member of the Association of Ontario Judges.
Justice Finlayson practised family law for 15 years, participated in numerous legal organizations, volunteered as a judge for the Walsh Negotiation Moot and made presentations about family law, evidence and procedure at various conferences for judges and lawyers. Admitted to the Ontario bar in 2002, Justice Finlayson graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School.