N.B. appoints 5 female judges, first female chief judge

New Brunswick's provincial court will be presided over by a female chief judge for the first time.

Premier Brian Gallant announced Tuesday that Jolène Richard has been named chief judge, effective June 2.

Richard will assume the role from Pierre Arsenault, who is stepping down to take supernumerary status.

Arsenault applauded Richard's appointment, saying she's a "very talented individual and a jurist of the highest competence."

"Her great personal energy, her work ethic and her experience on the bench amply qualify her not only to see the administrative tasks in the court are carried out but also to address the needs of the public generally," Arsenault said in a news release.

Gallant also announced the appointment of five women as full-time provincial court judges, which will give the court an equal number of men and women on the bench for the first time.

"We are pleased that these competent and qualified women will be able to serve in these important positions," Gallant said in a news release.

"By appointing five judges, we will also improve access to the justice system for the people of New Brunswick."

Appointed to the court are:

  • Joanne Durette, a travelling judge based in Bathurst;
  • Johanne-Marguerite Landry, a travelling judge based in Caraquet;
  • Natalie LeBlanc, a sitting judge based in Miramichi;
  • Lucie Mathurin, a sitting judge based in Moncton; and
  • Kelly Ann Winchester, a sitting judge based in Saint John.