As the first judge to be permanently stationed in Canada’s eastern Arctic, The Hon. Justice Beverley Browne was a tireless advocate for Indigenous peoples. In 1999, she was appointed the first chief justice of Nunavut, Canada’s largest and youngest territory. She was responsible for building Nunavut’s justice system and establishing Canada’s only single-level trial court. She also founded the Akitsiraq Law School to train Inuit lawyers in Nunavut. She created a program to allow community Elders to sit beside judges in court to speak with offenders during sentencing hearings.
In 2009, she left Nunavut for Alberta, where she served on the Court of Queen’s Bench until her retirement in 2021. At a Naming Ceremony last year, Elders bestowed on her the Cree spirit name “Woman Standing With the Law,” in recognition of her efforts to improve access to justice for Indigenous peoples. During her distinguished career, she contributed significantly to the betterment of Canadians.