Ritu Khullar appointed Chief Justice of Alberta

Ritu Khullar Photo: cba.org

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced the appointment of Ritu Khullar, a judge of the Court of Appeal of Alberta, as the new Chief Justice of Alberta, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories, and Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nunavut.

Khullar replaces Catherine A. Fraser, the first woman appointed Chief Justice of a province in Canada, who retired earlier this year.

Trudeau said: “I wish the Honourable Ritu Khullar every success as she takes on her new role. She is a respected member of the legal community and brings a wealth of experience in multiple areas of law to the bench. I am confident Chief Justice Khullar will be a great asset to the people of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.”

Khullar was born in Fort Vermilion, Alberta, to parents who had immigrated from India. She spent her childhood in the small town of Morinville, Alberta. She and her spouse, Robert, have two adult sons, and one dog.

Khullar was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in 2017 and was elevated to the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut in 2018.

From 1998 until her appointment to the judiciary, she practised with Chivers Greckol and Kanee (now Chivers Carpenter Lawyers), where she focused on labour and employment, privacy, administrative, human rights, and constitutional law, and served as managing partner for eight years. She appeared before numerous administrative tribunals and every level of court in Canada including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Throughout her legal career, Khullar lectured at the University of Alberta and served on numerous committees of the Canadian Bar Association. She was also a member of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the province of Alberta in 2003, and more recently, she was the Chair of the Government of Alberta’s Advisory Panel on Coal Communities. She also acted pro bono in significant cases, including representing Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Khullar has been active on a number of court committees and has continued to show her commitment to ongoing education through her work with the National Judicial Institute, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, and the Legal Education Society of Alberta, as well as speaking to a variety of audiences.

Khullar earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B. – Honours) from the University of Toronto. She clerked at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench before going into private practice.


  • Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices in Canada are responsible for the leadership and administration of their courts. They also serve as members of the Canadian Judicial Council, which works to improve the quality of judicial services in the superior courts of Canada.
  • Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of Cabinet and the recommendation of the Prime Minister.