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Deborah Fry sworn in as province's new chief justice

Deborah Fry (top, right) smiles during her swearing-in ceremony as the province's chief justice at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's Monday morning. Administering Fry's oaths was former chief justice Derek Green, who stepped down at the end of 2017.
Deborah Fry (top, right) smiles during her swearing-in ceremony as the province's chief justice at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's Monday morning. Administering Fry's oaths was former chief justice Derek Green, who stepped down at the end of 2017. - Tara Bradbury

Room No. 1 at the Supreme courthouse in St. John's was packed Monday morning as Deborah Fry made history as the province's first female chief justice.

Fry smiled as she took her oaths, administered to her by former chief justice Derek Green, who stepped down at the end of 2017.

"I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the province, without fear or favour, affection or ill will, so help me God," Fry said, repeating after Green.

Fry began her career in 1973 not in law but in the medical field, as a pediatric and public health nurse. After earning a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan, she was called to the bar in this province in 1981.

Fry's resume includes co-founding the Centre for Innovative Dispute Resolution; serving in a number of senior leadership positions within government, including deputy minister of a number of departments, clerk of the executive council and secretary to cabinet; receiving the YMCA-YWCA of St. John's Women of Distinction Award and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal; and being twice named one of Canada's Top 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network.

Prior to her installation as chief justice, Fry was a judge of the trial division of Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court.

Green said Fry is especially equipped to handle the contemporary challenges of the province's justice system.

"A new chief justice will no doubt signal new ideas, new approaches and reinvigorated efforts to meet the existing challenges. This therefore is also a time for optimism and expectation," he said. "We are fortunate to have, in Chief Justice Fry, a person who is very well suited to address the challenges of her new office."

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