Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments to the Federal Court

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments to the Federal Court

February 12, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Julie L. Blackhawk, General Counsel at the Department of Justice Canada in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court. Justice Blackhawk replaces Justice R. Zinn, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2022.

Angus G. Grant, Assistant Deputy Chairperson at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Federal Court. Justice Grant replaces Justice B.R. Bell, who resigned effective October 30, 2023.


“I wish Justices Blackhawk and Grant every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Canadians well as members of the Federal Court.”

–The Hon. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Julie L. Blackhawk obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on political science and indigenous studies from Lakehead University in 1995 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia in 1998. She was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1999 and the Ontario Bar in 2004.

Justice Blackhawk articled with the Legal Services Society, British Columbia’s legal aid services provider, in the poverty law clinic. She then worked for a small personal injury and child protection law firm in New Westminster, British Columbia. In 2000, she moved to the Department of Justice Canada where her practice has focused exclusively on s.35 Aboriginal law and Indigenous issues. She was a Member of the Motion Picture Appeal Board (British Columbia) and she co-instructed “Special Topics in Litigation – Aboriginal Law, Litigation, Procedure and Practice” at the University of British Columbia.

Justice Blackhawk was an active member of the Federal Court Aboriginal Law Bar Liaison Committee and she contributed to the development of the Practice Guidelines for Aboriginal Law Proceedings, 2016. She regularly spoke on various topics related to s.35 Aboriginal law and Indigenous issues.

Justice Blackhawk is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Nation (Kenhtè:ke kanyen’kehá:ka) and she has strong ties to the Lac Seul First Nation (Obishikokaang) through her spouse, Carl Blackhawk and their two teenaged daughters, Kinew and Binesi.

Justice Angus G. Grant was born in Scarborough. He attended Trent University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in international development studies in 1996, following which he obtained joint Masters and Law Degrees from the University of Toronto. He later obtained a PhD in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he also taught administrative, immigration, and refugee law. He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2002.

Justice Grant commenced his legal career at Borden, Ladner, Gervais LLP in Toronto, following which he joined a private immigration and refugee law practice. Over the course of his practice, he became a respected leader in the field, having appeared before various trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada on a number of occasions. He also worked for Legal Aid Ontario from 2004 to 2015. In 2019, he became the Assistant Deputy Chairperson for the Refugee Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and has played a leadership role in the management of the Board, which is Canada’s largest administrative law tribunal.

Justice Grant has published widely in these legal domains, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, law school programs, and training sessions across the country.

Justice Grant and his spouse Caroline Sand are the proud parents of three delightful daughters, Noa, Talia, and Maya.

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