OTTAWA – Justice Louis LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada has given formal notice that he will retire when he hits age 75 on Nov. 30.
LeBel was appointed to the court in January 2000, after 15 years as a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal.
His retirement means Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have to name two new justices in the next six months.
The court, which normally comprises nine members, has short a justice for its entire last term.
Harper’s nomination of semi-retired Federal Court judge Marc Nadon was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, which found Nadon didn’t meet the requirements for one of the three slots reserved for justices from Quebec.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says LeBel served the court with great distinction.
“He is a jurist of immense gifts and wisdom, and is a pillar of the court,” McLachlin said in a statement. “He is deeply loved and respected by his colleagues and he will be dearly missed.”
In a statement of his own, LeBel said that when he steps down he will have been a judge for 30 years.
“It has been a privilege to contribute to the administration of justice in Canada and to the development of our laws,” he said. “I have been fortunate to share my duties with colleagues whom I deeply appreciate and respect.”