Supreme Court Welcomes New Associate Chief Justice

Headshot of a male judge wearing black, red and white judicial robes.

The Hon. R. Lester Jesudason is the new Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Family Division). 

The announcement was made earlier today in a news release from the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. The appointment is effective immediately. 

“This is wonderful news,” said the Hon. Deborah K. Smith, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. “Family law matters can be especially challenging; having an Associate Chief Justice who understands that and is dedicated to making the experience better — both for the people appearing in court and the judges hearing matters — is so important. I know I can rely on Associate Chief Justice Jesudason to be a champion for the Family Division, just as his predecessor was. Nova Scotians will be well served with Associate Chief Justice Jesudason in this leadership role.”

Today’s appointment fills the vacancy created last October when the Hon. Associate Chief Justice Lawrence I. O'Neil elected supernumerary (part-time) status and stepped back from his responsibilities helping to administer the Family Division of the Supreme Court.

Since then, the Hon. Patrick J. Duncan, Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has been serving as the acting Associate Chief Justice of the Family Division.  

“I want to take this opportunity to also thank Associate Chief Justice Duncan for agreeing to take on these additional responsibilities until a new Associate Chief Justice was named. His assistance these past few months has been invaluable and will help ensure a smoother transition as we welcome Associate Chief Justice Jesudason.”

The Hon. Associate Chief Justice R. Lester Jesudason

Associate Chief Justice Lester Jesudason graduated from Dalhousie University Law School in 1996 and holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Acadia University. He was called to Nova Scotia Bar in 1997.

He was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Family Division) in May 2015. Since then, he has presided primarily in the Halifax region.

In addition to his responsibilities in court, Associate Chief Justice Jesudason has contributed to numerous judicial committees, including the Family Division Bar/Bench Liaison Committee, the Courthouse Standards Committee, the Judicial Security Protocol Committee, the Outreach Committee, the All Courts Virtual Court Working Group, the All Courts Technology Committee, and the Records Management Working Group. He also chaired the Futures Committee, which considered the ongoing use of virtual court options in the Supreme Court.

Associate Chief Justice Jesudason is the current Chair of the federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Nova Scotia, the body responsible for assessing the qualifications of lawyers who apply to become judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

He has also been involved in arranging educational programs for judges put on by the National Judicial Institute (NJI). He has served both as a member of planning committees and acted as faculty for the NJI’s national Communicating Effectively in Your Courtroom and Building Cultural Competence programs.