Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anne Roland, Supreme Court of Canada Registrar, Retires

In an emotional farewell to staff, Anne Roland, Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada since 1990, reminisced today about the many changes she has seen at Canada's highest judicial institution where she started working 32 years ago. Roland is retiring this week.

As Registar, she acted as the Court's top administrative official, with responsibilities for appointment and supervision of Court staff, the management of the Library and the Registry, and the publication of the Supreme Court Reports.

Madame Roland emigrated from France and joined the Canadian public service some 37 years ago, working first in translation before moving to the judicial branch. One of her first tasks at the Supreme Court of Canada was to oversee the preparation of official French versions for a huge backlog of cases.

In comments at today's event, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin told a story about Roland's dedication. Roland was in charge of preparing for publication the historic 1982 constitutional patriation reference case while pregnant, completing the job on time and to perfection just 2 days before going into labour.

As Registrar, Madame Roland oversaw a tremendous transformation of the Court: computerization, expansion of staff in fields such as jurilinguistics and IT, major building renovations, the reform of the rules of the Court, the modernization of the courtroom (the Supreme Court of Canada is now considered to have one of the most technologically advanced hearing rooms of any appellate court in the world), and more.

She leaves behind a reputation as a rigorous administrator and a tenacious defender of our independence as an institution.

I've only been here 3 years. I will remember her for her great sense of humour and fun, her infectious laugh and her approachability. And, of course, for her unflagging support for the Library.

Her successor has not yet been named. In the meantime, the Deputy Registrar, Louise Meagher, will be the acting Registrar.

This afternoon, Madame Roland sent staff a final e-mail send-off containing a piece of haiku that I think sums up her career:
Chiefs and Judges Served
Beloved Court in Icy Land
Tulips and rights bloom

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:37 pm

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