Catherine Fraser

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For those of a similar name, see Katherine Fraser.
The Honourable
Catherine Fraser
Catherine Fraser 2015.jpg
Fraser in May 2015
Chief Justice of Alberta
Assumed office
Preceded by James Herbert Laycraft
Chief Justice of Northwest Territories
Assumed office
Administrator of Alberta
In office
January 6, 2005 – January 20, 2005
Preceded by Lois Hole
Succeeded by Norman Kwong
Personal details
Born (1947-08-04) August 4, 1947 (age 69)
Campbellton, New Brunswick
Residence Edmonton, Alberta
Alma mater University of Alberta
London School of Economics
Occupation lawyer/judge

The Hon. Catherine Anne Fraser (born August 4, 1947) is a Canadian lawyer and judge who was appointed as Chief Justice of Alberta and Chief Justice of Northwest Territories in 1992. She was named as the Chief Justice of the Nunavut Court of Appeal on March 24, 1999.

Early years[edit]

Fraser was born in Campbellton, New Brunswick and moved to Edmonton in 1958. Her mother worked as a teacher and her grandparents were immigrants from Lebanon and Ukraine.[1] One of her first jobs was working in the women's section of a department store; she was paid $35 a week, five dollars less than her male colleague who worked in the men's section. Fraser stated in a 2014 interview with the Edmonton Journal that "it brought home to [her] the differences in how men and women were being treated during that era in our society."[1] She also stated that she chose the law as a profession because she saw it as a "vehicle for change" and because she was "concerned about inequality in society."[1]

A graduate of the University of Alberta, she received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1969 and 1970 respectively. She received the George Bligh O'Connor Silver Medal in Law, awarded to the law student graduating with the second highest GPA over the three-year program. She also has a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics.


Prior to her appointment to the bench, Fraser practised law with the firm of Lucas, Bishop and Fraser, and became a Queen's Counsel in 1983. She taught women and the law courses at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law.

First appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in 1989 and subsequently to the Court of Appeal of Alberta in 1991, she became the first woman appointed Chief Justice of Alberta on March 12, 1992. At age 44, she was also the youngest person appointed Chief Justice in Alberta.[1]

Fraser has also served on the Canadian Institute on the Administration of Justice, as chair of the Education Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council and as a member of the Council's Special Committee on Equality in the Courts.[2]


She was recognized with a YWCA Tribute to Women Award. In 1996 she received the University of Alberta Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award. On May 10, 2007, she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Calgary.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Catherine Fraser is married to Richard Fraser. They have a daughter, Andrea Claire Fraser,[4] who was convicted of identity theft and unauthorized use of credit card data in 2007.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Ellwand, ,Otiena. "Court of Appeal series: An interview with Chief Justice Catherine Fraser". Retrieved 2016-09-02. 
  2. ^ University of Alberta website
  3. ^ University of Calgary website Archived July 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "From a daughter of privilege to a crystal-meth con artist". Retrieved 2016-09-02. 
  5. ^ " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 2016-09-02. 

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2013
Succeeded by
Donald Ethell, Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta