Red Deer lawyer Chris Rickards named Court of King’s Bench justice

Rickards well-known for contributions to law and the community

Chris Rickards has been appointed a Court of King's Bench justice in Red Deer. (Photo contributed)

An experienced Red Deer lawyer recognized for his contributions to law has been appointed justice to the Alberta Court of King’s Bench in Red Deer.

The appointment of Chris Rickards was announced on Monday by Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti.

Rickards is a partner at Johnston Ming Manning LLP, where he focuses on civil litigation, particularly personal injury law, as well as employment law and commercial, estate and construction litigation.

He was appointed Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel) in 2013 by Alberta’s lieutenant governor general. The KC designation is awarded to members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and outstanding contributions to the legal community.

Rickards was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated with his family to Canada in 1979. He moved to Calgary and did his undergraduate studies at University of Calgary, graduating with Bachelor of Arts with distinction in philosophy and political science. He graduated from University of Toronto law school in 1990 and returned to Calgary.

He joined Red Deer’s Johnston Ming Manning in 1992, became partner in 1997 and is now a managing partner.

Throughout his career he has been deeply involved in the legal community, serving as past chair of Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic board, was a former director of Pro Bono Law Alberta and past-president of the Central Alberta Bar Society among other contributions.

As bar society president, Rickards was deeply involved in advocating for a new courthouse in Red Deer. The $207-million Red Deer Justice Centre is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

He has also been involved in community fundraising, serving as co-chair of then-Red Deer College’s annual Affairs of the Arts event, and has helped organize fundraisers for the Canadian Paraplegic Association. An avid cyclist, he has used his pedal power to raise money for the MS Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Paraplegic Association, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and Red Deer Search and Rescue.

Rickards has been married since 1993 to Red Deer lawyer and Red Deer Advocate columnist Donna Purcell, who is also a King’s Counsel. The couple have two daughters.

Also appointed on Monday was Calgary lawyer Melanie Gaston, who will sit on the Court of King’s Bench in Calgary.

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