The Alberta Court of Justice is the busiest trial court in the province, handling more than 100,000 criminal cases, 17,000 family and child protection cases, and about 10,000 civil cases annually. With locations in 72 communities, the provincial court is the most accessible and affordable court system in Alberta.

The funding will be used to create and fill three new judicial positions and three new justice of the peace positions, and to begin hiring 110 new judicial clerks as well as judicial assistants, legal counsel and other support staff for the judiciary. This marks the second time since 2019 that the Alberta Court of Justice has been expanded, a testament to the government's commitment to improving the justice system in Alberta.

"This announcement of the second expansion of the Alberta Court of Justice in less than a year is a significant milestone for our justice system. This historical investment of more than $137 million demonstrates our commitment to improving access to justice for Albertans and providing the necessary resources to address the backlog of cases. We are proud to be taking these steps towards a fairer, faster and more responsive court system."

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Attorney General

"We are pleased to welcome the three new justices to the Alberta Court of Justice. Over the last 12 months, seven new judicial positions have been created, which will allow our court to continue to provide a fair, accessible and timely system of justice for all Albertans.”

Derek G. Redman, chief justice, Alberta Court of Justice

Budget 2023’s investment in the Alberta Court of Justice is part of a broader strategy to enhance the justice system and make it more responsive to the needs of Albertans. In addition to funding new positions, it invests in technology to enable judiciary and law enforcement agencies to authorize matters such as warrants, applications and orders electronically. Essential training for court clerks, who interact with the public and judiciary daily regarding complex legal matters, is also being funded.

Other recent reforms to the justice system include renaming the Provincial Court of Alberta to the Alberta Court of Justice as of April 1 and expanding it last spring by filling four new judicial positions and eight vacancies, appointing the largest number of judges in Alberta's history.

Judicial appointments

Catherine Regier received her law degree from Queens University in 1992. After serving as an associate at Niblock and Company Barristers & Solicitors from 1993 to 1994, she has worked at Pritchard & Co. Law Firm LLP since 1994, first as an associate, and as a partner since 2008. She is experienced in family law – divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation and adoption. She has been appointed to the Southern Region starting April 26.

M. Jennifer Shaften, KC, received her juris doctor from the University of Calgary in 1993. She worked as a sole practitioner, with legal firms and Legal Aid Alberta, before joining Foster LLP, where she has been a managing partner since 2015. Her areas of practice are child representation, family dispute resolution, mediation, arbitration, parenting coordination and litigation. She has been appointed to the Calgary Family and Youth Division effective April 19.

Carrie-Ann Downey, KC, received a bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta in 2002 and a master of laws from Osgoode Law School in 2019. From 2006 to October 2022, she worked as a Crown prosecutor in the Edmonton office and is currently the chief prosecutor and executive director for the Operations and Strategic Support Office for the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. Her areas of specialization include sexual violence, homicide, robbery, driving-related deaths, crimes against children and high risk/dangerous offenders. She has been appointed to the Edmonton Region starting April 17.

Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.

Quick facts

  • Lawyers with at least 10 years at the bar can apply to become a justice with the Alberta Court of Justice.

  • Applications are considered first by the Alberta Judicial Council, which makes recommendations to the Provincial Court Nominating Committee.

  • The committee makes recommendations to the minister of Justice, who then makes recommendations to cabinet.