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Punjab-Born Sikh Woman Becomes First Turbaned Supreme Court Judge In Canada

British Columbia Supreme Court judge of Indian-origin, Parbinder Kaur Shergill, has become first turbaned Sikh woman Supreme Court judge of Canada.

Shergill, who was born in Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar district, had migrated to Canada along with her family at the age of four.

Her appointment was announced along with two other judges by Jody Wilson- Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, under the new judicial application process. The new process emphasises transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Known as a prominent human rights lawyer in Canada, Shergill was instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her pro bono work as General Legal Counsel for the World Sikh Organisation of Canada. “Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergillpractised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill and Company, Trial Lawyers. She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service,” said the introduction released by the minister.

Shergill grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and received her degree in law from the University of Saskatchewan. Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1991, she held leadership positions both within and outside the
legal community. She was involved with the Cabinet of Canadians, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Canadian Bar Association.

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