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Justice Rosalie Abella gestures during a swearing-in ceremony as Justice Marie Deschamps looks on at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Oct. 4, 2004.

FRED CHARTRAND

The hunt is on for a new judge to sit on Canada’s highest court, in preparation for the mandatory retirement of Justice Rosalie Abella.

Justice Abella, the longest-serving Supreme Court justice, will retire July 1, on her 75th birthday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the seven members of an independent advisory board that will be responsible for reviewing applications and recommending a shortlist of candidates to fill the Ontario vacancy on the bench.

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Candidates are to be functionally bilingual and representative of the diversity of the country.

The board is chaired by former prime minister Kim Campbell and includes former Supreme Court justice Louise Charron.

Justice Abella was appointed to the top court in 2004 after sitting as a judge of the Ontario Family Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal.

“Justice Abella’s long and distinguished judicial career is remarkable,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner said in a statement Friday.

“She has made significant contributions to our society and Canadian jurisprudence, which earned recognition from numerous prominent institutions, both nationally and internationally

“She is a deeply committed person who has always served Canada with passion and panache.”

Mr. Trudeau thanked Justice Abella “for her leadership, excellence, and dedication on our highest court over the past 17 years.”

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For her part, Justice Abella said she is preparing to leave the court “with a deep sense of pride in the integrity, independence and professionalism of this country’s judges and lawyers.”

“I am honoured to be one of them.”

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