First African Nova Scotian appointed to Nova Scotia judiciary set to retire Friday

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Corrine Sparks is set to retire from the bench after 34 years. (Nova Scotia judiciary - image credit)
Corrine Sparks is set to retire from the bench after 34 years. (Nova Scotia judiciary - image credit)

Family Court Judge Corrine Sparks, the first African Nova Scotian appointed to the Nova Scotia judiciary, will retire on Friday after more than three decades on the bench.

"Judge Corrine Sparks is a trailblazer, in every sense of the word," Pamela S. Williams, the chief judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia, said in a media release.

Sparks, born and raised in the small community of Lake Loon, N.S., completed her law degree at Dalhousie University and went on to become the first African Canadian woman to serve on the bench.

She's hanging up her judicial robes after 34 years.

Though she's leaving the bench, Sparks will remain in a prominent role in provincial life.

Starting in 2022, she will adjudicate disputes over land ownership in historic African Nova Scotian communities.

She will be a commissioner with a provincial land titles initiative launched in 2017. The initiative was created to help residents get clear title to land in East Preston, North Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville.

According to the release, Sparks was instrumental during her time on the bench in launching a judicial mentorship initiative with the Schulich School of Law to support African Nova Scotian and Indigenous lawyers interested in applying to become a judge.

"From being the first in her immediate family to attend university, to working in the province's first all-female law firm, to her groundbreaking accomplishments on the bench, Judge Sparks has helped build the foundation for a more equal and inclusive legal profession in Nova Scotia, and across the country," said Williams.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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