McLachlin, Beverley

 Beverley McLachlin, judge, Chief Justice of Canada (b at Pincher Creek, Alta, 7 Sept 1943). The oldest of 5 children, McLachlin studied philosophy and then law at the University of Alberta, graduating with high honours in 1968. She practiced at an Edmonton legal firm 1969-71, and in British Columbia 1971-75; from 1974 to 1981, she taught law at the University of British Columbia, finishing with the rank of full professor. Very briefly a county court judge in 1981 before being named to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the fall of that year, McLachlin moved to the provincial Court of Appeal at the end of 1985 and became Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court in September 1988.

On 30 March 1989 PM Brian MULRONEY appointed her to the Supreme Court of Canada, where she took strong stands on free speech issues and established a reputation for independent thinking, consensus-building and a lack of personal pretension. Signalling a less secretive and more responsive Supreme Court, she assumed office as the first woman Chief Justice of Canada on 7 January 2000.