Experienced, intelligent and compassionate: We're going to miss Judge Klebuc at Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench while we're pleased he will be taking his even-handed, open-minded style of justice to the capital!
REGINA (SNN) - It was standing room only inside a Regina courtroom on Monday afternoon as John Klebuc was sworn in as the province's highest judicial official.
Klebuc is Saskatchewan's eighth chief justice.
Klebuc, a 66-year-old grandfather of five, spent 29 years as a lawyer at MacPherson, Leslie and Tyerman in Regina, specializing in commercial and business law, civil litigation, commercial real estate and resource and contract law.
He became a justice at Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench in 1993 and was appointed to the province's top judicial position in Regina about two weeks ago.
He is replacing Edward Bayda, who served as the province's chief justice for 25 years.
Saskatchewan has a new top judge.
Justice John Klebuc has been sworn in as the province's eighth Chief Justice, succeeding the retired Edward Bayda. Klebuc says he hopes to improve access to justice for everyone -- for instance, using technology to reduce costs, and encouraging more Aboriginal lawyers to come forward as potential judges.
Originally from Meadow Lake, Klebuc was a partner with MacPherson, Leslie, and Tyerman before being appointed to Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatoon in 1993.
REGINA -- The province's legal community was buzzing Friday with word that Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Klebuc will be sworn in as the new chief justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
A spokesperson for the courts would not confirm late Friday that Klebuc had received the nod from Stephen Harper's Conservative government, but legal sources said Klebuc got the call Thursday evening that he had the job.
By Friday, law firms were sending out congratulatory messages. Klebuc couldn't be reached for comment late Friday.
Appointed to the bench in 1993, Klebuc was the province's last Queen's Bench judge named by the Progressive Conservative government, then led by Brian Mulroney.
Klebuc replaces Edward Bayda, who officially retired as the Appeal Court's chief justice last week when he celebrated his 75th birthday -- the mandatory retirement age for federal judges. He had held the position since his appointment in May 1981, when he became the country's youngest person ever to reach that achievement.
Traditionally across Canada, most chief justices are appointed by the federal government from among the sitting judges of the Appeal Court. In that regard, Klebuc, who studied law at the University of Saskatchewan and was admitted to the bar in 1965, is seen as a bit of a darkhorse for the top position.
Although he formerly practised law in Regina with MacPherson Leslie and Tyerman, he was assigned to the bench in Saskatoon. A news release issued in 1993 at the time of Klebuc's appointment as a Queen's Bench judge notes he was the recipient of the Carswell Prize in each year of his legal studies in recognition of scholastic standing.
In May 2001, Klebuc made legal history when he awarded a victim of residential school abuse $407,129 -- the highest amount ever given in such a case. The amount was reduced by half four years later when the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In May 1999, he awarded four Regina men more than $166,000 who were falsely accused of murder.
In his ruling, Klebuc criticised police for a "reckless" and "malicious" investigation.
Klebuc is also known for some quirkier judgments.
In a 2002 case, he upheld a lease that "was to end on the earlier of the Second Coming of Christ or the date of death" of one of the parties. In an 18-page judgment from 1998, he debated the wrongful removal of a Manitoba maple tree and awarded "restorative costs of $642 associated with planting a small replacement tree plus $900 for the loss of the benefi t of shade, aesthetic joy, diminution of property value and the cost of removing the stump."