By: Nigel Maxwell
A Prince Albert defence lawyer has been appointed as a judge to the Provincial Court in La Ronge.
Judge Mary McAuley, who admitted she is still feeling overwhelmed by the news, said this was never something she was deliberately aiming for.
“I didn’t really think about it but it was always a possibility at the back of my mind because of my Cree language,” she said.
Judge McAuley was raised in Cumberland House in Northern Saskatchewan and is one of the only fluent Cree speaking Métis female lawyers in the province. She said she feels her cultural understanding and experience communicating with Cree speaking people in the courtroom will be a big asset in her new job.
“It’s going to help the Cree speaking citizens navigate the court process, so I’m kind of hoping it’s gonna be more of a help for them in finding their way around the system when someone can actually speak the language,” she said.
Judge McAuley received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006. She articled with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, and practiced law in Prince Albert. She spent time as a Crown prosecutor, defence lawyer with legal aid and as a private lawyer. She practiced with McAuley Law Firm since 2012, which she started on her own in Prince Albert.
McAuley, who has a succession agreement with the lawyers that are currently working for her, said it’s very hard having to walk away from her practices in Prince Albert and The Pas, Manitoba.
“It’s hard to walk away from that because it was so exciting and I learned so much. It brought out a lot out in me in terms of strength and knowing how to handle multi-tasking,” she said.
McAuley was appointed earlier this week but she will be officially sworn in during a ceremony in Regina on Tuesday. She said she expects to be sitting on the bench in April.
“Judge McAuley is an exceptional appointment to the bench,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said in a news release. “She has made valuable contributions to the legal profession in the province for more than 10 years. Her diverse experience will certainly enhance the judicial system in our province.”