University of Lethbridge confirms 2013 Honorary Degree Recipients Press Release by University of Lethbridge, March 5, 2013
Lethbridge Collegiate Institute graduate Neil Wittmann has long been respected as one
of the top litigators in the province of Alberta, serving as an exceptional teacher and
mentor to junior lawyers and erstwhile champion of ethical litigation. Now, as Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench in the Province of Alberta, Wittmann conducts the majority of his work behind the scenes, continually working to better the practice of law in the province.
As Vice-Chair of the Judicial Conduct Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC),
Wittmann’s work is absolutely essential in ensuring that the independency of the
judiciary is maintained in Canada and the conduct of the members of the judiciary
adhere to the ethical principles adapted by the CJC.
Wittmann’s stellar career as a lawyer in private practice, coupled with his excellence as
a judge and now Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench demonstrates the respect
and admiration the legal community has for his contributions to the practice of law in
Alberta and beyond. [Emphasis added]
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“I have no choice but to appeal,” said Ernst in an interview. “Chief Justice Wittmann ruled that the ERCB has a duty to protect the public, but not me. I am the public; we all are. Without water to bathe in, the public’s well-being declines — as mine has for years. Without water to drink, the public dies, so do all individuals — including Justice Wittmann and his loved ones. There is no frack worth that.
“If I let these rulings stand, companies and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers will push regulators across Canada to do unto others as the ERCB did unto me, when they breached my Charter rights and tried to intimidate me into silence by judging me a criminal without any evidence or trial.”
February 15, 2013 Ernst v Encana case management conference call: Justice Veldhuis (case management judge promoted off the case by the Harper government on February 8, 3013) advised Ernst’s lawyers that Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Neil Wittmann volunteered to take over the case. The other option offered was to allow the three defendants and plaintiff to choose a new judge which would have been a long drawn out, unjust, expensive process.