Thursday, April 10, 2008

Judge's surprise retirement leaves 'serious void'

One of the Supreme Court of Canada's most senior and prolific judges, Mr. Justice Michel Bastarache, shocked the legal world yesterday by announcing his impending retirement at the end of the court's spring session in June.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin praised Judge Bastarache in announcing his retirement, but gave no reason for the 59-year-old judge's decision to resign long before his mandatory retirement age of 75. Speculation quickly centred around his health, because Judge Bastarache reportedly had heart surgery to open a blocked artery last February.

"I don't know the reason for this, other than that he has not been sitting on some recent cases because of health problems," Philip Bryden, dean of law at the University of New Brunswick, said in an interview.

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