Kenyan-Born Judge Makes History in Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 17, announced the nomination of the Honourable Mahmud Jamal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Jamal becomes the first Muslim judge to be nominated as the a member of the Supreme Court of Canada.
He was born in 1967 in Nairobi, Kenya to a family originally from India. Thereafter, the family moved to the United Kingdom in 1969 to search for a better life.
After completing his high school studies in Edmonton, UK, Jamal joined the London School of Economics as the first in his family to attend university before obtaining his economics degree a year later at the University of Toronto.
He then furthered his studies getting a degree in common law and Quebec civil law at McGill University and a master’s in law from Yale Law School.
He has appeared in 35 appeals as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of Canada on civil, constitutional, criminal, and regulatory issues.
In 2019, Jamal was nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
Justice Mahmud Jamal will also be the first person of color named to the Supreme Court of Canada. He indicated in his application his experience as a child growing up. “As a child and youth, I was taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”
Mahmud Jamal is to replace the retiring Rosalie Silberman Abella, the first refugee and first Jewish woman to sit on the court.
Trudeau issued a statement recognizing Jamal’s line of work. “Justice Mahmud Jamal has had a distinguished career of which he’s remained dedicated [throughout] to serving others. He [will] be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court and that’s why I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court.”
The Canadian Prime Minister’s announcement came an hour after Chief Justice Richard Wagner mentioned the importance of seeing greater diversity in Canada’s courts.
Wagner also expressed his desire to see that gender balance would be maintained in the coming years.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Chairperson of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments will soon appear before a special hearing of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to discuss the selection process and the reasons for the nomination.