Provincial Court Welcomes Two New Associate Chief Judges

Nova Scotia Courts News

The Provincial Court has two new Associate Chief Judges, existing members of the Bench who in addition to hearing matters can assist the Chief Judge with responsibilities related to the administration of the Court.

The Hon. Associate Chief Judge Ronda van der Hoek currently presides in Kentville and Windsor, while the Hon. Associate Chief Judge D. Shane Russell hears matters primarily in Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, and Wagmatcook First Nation. They were first appointed judges of the Provincial Court in 2017 and 2021, respectively.  

The appointments to their new roles were announced earlier today in a news release from the Justice Minister and Attorney General of Nova Scotia.

“These are two exceptional judges,” said The Hon. Perry F. Borden, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court. “They have proved themselves to be dependable and enthusiastic colleagues who work well under pressure and are always quick to volunteer their time. These are the traits you want in an Associate Chief Judge. I’m incredibly grateful to have them both at my side.

The Hon. Associate Chief Judge Ronda van der Hoek

Associate Chief Judge Ronda van der Hoek graduated from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in 1996. She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1997 and practiced law for 19 years before her appointment to Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia in January 2017.

Prior to becoming a judge, she worked as a lawyer with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and before that with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in Windsor and Halifax.

As a lawyer, Judge van der Hoek served as the federal co-chair of the Justice Committee of the Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum and was a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Race Relations Committee.

In addition to her responsibilities in court, Associate Chief Judge van der Hoek serves on several judicial committees, including the All Courts Technology Committee. She is a past member of the All Courts Virtual Court Working Group that helped advance virtual court options during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hon. Associate Chief Judge D. Shane Russell

Associate Chief Judge Shane Russell was born and raised in North Sydney, N.S. He graduated from the University of Manitoba Robson Hall Law School in 2003 and has a Bachelor of Science Advance Major Psychology from Dalhousie University.

He practiced law for 17 years, all of those as a Crown Attorney. He served as co-counsel for the Desmond Fatality Inquiry starting in 2019 until his appointment to the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia on Dec. 10, 2021.

As a lawyer, Associate Chief Judge Russell served as President of the Cape Breton Barristers' Society and President of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys' Association. He was also a member of Bar Council, the governing body of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, as well as the Society’s Gender Equity Committee and the Provincial Court Liaison Committee.

Associate Chief Judge Russell is one of two Provincial Court representatives on the All Courts Technology Committee.

The Provincial Court of Nova Scotia currently has a full complement of 30 full-time judges, including the Chief Judge and Associate Chief Judges. There is also one full-time judge on the provincial Family Court.