September 15, 2017
New Judge Appointed to the Federal Court
September 15, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
Shirzad S. Ahmed, a sole practitioner based in Calgary, is appointed a judge of the Federal Court. He replaces Mr. Justice L.S. Mandamin, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective August 19, 2017.
Mr. Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed was born in Kirkuk, Southern Kurdistan. As a young Kurdish man, he fled Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, eventually arriving in Canada as a refugee. He was educated in the Middle East, Europe and Canada, receiving an undergraduate degree in political science from Simon Fraser University in 1996. He received his J.D. from the University of Calgary in 2000.
Since 2004, Justice Ahmed has worked as a sole practitioner in the areas of immigration, refugee, human rights, and civil liberties law. He has represented clients from every continent before various tribunals and before the Federal Court. Justice Ahmed’s command of numerous languages (written and spoken) reflects his international experience and multicultural interests and was a huge benefit to his law practice. He has written articles, given media interviews, and been a guest speaker at various forums addressing international human rights issues.
In 1995, while still a student, Justice Ahmed was appointed by the B.C. provincial government to the Board of Governors at University College of the Fraser Valley (as it was then known). He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Fig Tree Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on humanitarian causes throughout the world.
In 2008, the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Alberta presented Justice Ahmed with the Distinguished Service Award for Pro Bono Legal Service. In 2009, Justice Ahmed received the Alberta Order of Excellence, Alberta’s highest award. In addition, he has received numerous honours from the University of the Fraser Valley, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award (2011) and an honourary Doctor of Laws (2015), in recognition of his dedication to social justice and human rights issues.
Throughout his career, Justice Ahmed has been an indefatigable advocate for human rights causes. He is particularly invested in mentoring students and junior lawyers, as he believes they have the ability to carry on humanitarian and human rights work and to ensure that Canada continues to set the standard for global human rights practices.