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New Chief Judge Appointed

Chief WilliamsThe Honourable Pamela S. Williams has been appointed Chief Judge of the Nova Scotia Provincial and Family Courts. She is the first woman to be appointed as Chief Judge of the two Courts.

Chief Williams has been Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court since April of 2011. Most recently, she has been presiding in Dartmouth in the Mental Health Court in addition to her regular Provincial and Family Court duties and her duties as Associate Chief.

She was first appointed as a Judge of the two Courts in September of 2003 after working for 18 years as a staff lawyer and then a managing lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid.

She earned her bachelor's degree at Saint Mary's University, and then her law degree from Dalhousie University Law School in 1984. She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1985.

The Honourable Palmela Williams was appointed Chief Judge by Nova Scotia's Minister of Justice, Ross Landry.

A committee chaired by the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia considered applicants from among the current Judges of the Provincial and Family Courts. The other members of the committee are the outgoing Chief Judge, the president of the Provincial Judges' Association, and a lay person designated by the Minister of Justice.

Sitting Judges put their names forward. The committee considered their applications, interviewed them, and received input from other Judges. The committee then reported its findings to the Minister of Justice who then made his selection from among the applicants considered suitable for appointment.


The outgoing Chief Judge of the Provincial and Family Courts, the Honourable Patrick Curran, decided to step down as Chief when his most recent term ended on January 31st of this year. Judge CurranJudge Curran had been Chief of the Provincial Court since 2003 and Chief of the Provincial and Family Courts since 2011.

Judge Curran has served in the Provincial Court for more than 30 years. He has also been a Family Court Judge since 2004. Before being appointed to the Nova Scotia Provincial Court in August of 1981, he was in private practice and served as a legal aid lawyer.

He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1970 after graduating from Dalhousie Law School. He received a bachelor of arts cum laude in philosophy and a bachelor of education from Saint Mary's University.

Judge Curran will continue sitting as a full time Judge.