Canada gets first tur­baned Sikh judge

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IN­DIAN-ORI­GIN Sikh hu­man rights ad­vo­cate Pal­binder Kaur Shergill has been ap­pointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Bri­tish Columbia in New West­min­ster.

She is the first tur­baned Sikh ap­pointed to the ju­di­ciary in Canada, the World Sikh Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WSO) of Canada, said news por­tal Voice On­line.

Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould, Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral of Canada, an­nounced the ap­point­ment last week un­der the new ju­di­cial ap­pli­ca­tion process an­nounced on Oc­to­ber 20 last year.

Wel­com­ing the de­ci­sion, WSO Pres­i­dent Mukhbir Singh said: “The ap­point­ment of Jus­tice Shergill is another mile­stone for the Sikh com­mu­nity in Canada.

“It is a mat­ter of great pride that to­day we have the first tur­baned Sikh ap­pointed to the ju­di­ciary in Canada.”

The ap­point­ment was made with im­me­di­ate ef­fect as Jus­tice Shergill re­places Jus­tice EA Arnold-Bai­ley, who re­tired on May 31, the re­port said.

Re­garded as a lead­ing hu­man rights ad­vo­cate, she has been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing shape hu­man rights and re­li­gious ac­com­mo­da­tion law in Canada through her work as gen­eral le­gal coun­sel for the WSO since 1991.

Be­fore her ap­point­ment to the bench, Shergill prac­tised as a lawyer and me­di­a­tor with her law firm, Shergill & Com­pany, trial lawyers.

She has ex­ten­sive trial and ap­pel­late ex­pe­ri­ence and has ap­peared be­fore courts and tri­bunals across the coun­try, in­clud­ing the Supreme Court of Canada.

Shergill was ap­pointed Queen’s Coun­sel in 2012 and is a re­cip­i­ent of the Queen’s Golden Ju­bilee Medal for Com­mu­nity Ser­vice.

She lives in Sur­rey with her hus­band, daugh­ter and twin sons.

She was born in Pun­jab and im­mi­grated to Canada with her fam­ily at the age of 4.

Shergill grew up in Wil­liams Lake, Bri­tish Columbia, and re­ceived her law de­gree from the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan.

Called to the Bri­tish Columbia Bar in 1991, she has held lead­er­ship po­si­tions both within and out­side the le­gal com­mu­nity.

She has been in­volved with the Cab­i­net of Cana­di­ans, the Trial Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Columbia, and the Cana­dian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion.

Shergill vol­un­teers as a high school de­bate coach, plays the tabla and har­mo­nium, and is kick­ing her way to­wards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

She is flu­ent in English and Pun­jabi, has a con­ver­sa­tional knowl­edge of Hindi, and is as­pir­ing to­wards flu­ency in French. – IANS

Pal­binder Kaur Shergill

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