Palbinder Kaur Shergill Is Canada’s First Turbaned Woman SC Judge

She has been instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada.

2 min read
Palbinder Kaur Shergill. 

Palbinder Kaur Shergill has become the first turbaned Sikh woman to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster.

Her appointment was announced on Saturday by The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and was made with immediate effect as she replaces Justice EA Arnold-Bailey, who retired on 31 May, reports news portal Voice Online.


The World Sikh Organisation of Canada (WSO), that works to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs and advocates the safeguarding of human rights, congratulated her on the appointment.

The appointment of Justice Shergill is another milestone for the Sikh community in Canada. It is a matter of great pride that today, we have the first turbaned Sikh appointed to the judiciary in Canada.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh

Regarded as a leading human rights advocate, she has been instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her work as general legal counsel for the WSO since 1991.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Shergill practised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill & Company, Trial Lawyers.

He added, “Justice Shergill’s dedicated service to the legal profession and the community are well known, and she has truly made a difference through her work. We were very fortunate to have had Justice Shergill as a key member of our legal team and we now look forward to her serving Canadians as a member of the BC bench.”

She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across the country, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Shergill was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service. She lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter and twin sons.

She was born in Punjab and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. She grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1991, she has held leadership positions both within and outside the legal community. She has been involved with the Cabinet of Canadians, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Canadian Bar Association.

Shergill volunteers as a high school debate coach, plays the tabla and harmonium, and is kicking her way towards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is fluent in English and Punjabi, has a conversational knowledge of Hindi, and is aspiring towards fluency in French.

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