The Honourable Vanessa Rochester

Justice Vanessa Rochester was appointed to the Federal Court on August 4, 2021. Prior to her appointment, she practised predominantly in the areas of maritime and transportation law. She worked with the late Professor William Tetley, a widely known and respected maritime law scholar, before entering private practice in the Montreal office of Norton Rose Fulbright, where she spent most of her career. She also spent several years practising in London, England, and in Singapore, where she handled complex multijurisdictional disputes.

Justice Rochester has been recognized as a leading practitioner in maritime and transportation law by numerous industry publications, including Chambers, Lexpert, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, Who’s Who, and Expert Guides.

While in practice, Justice Rochester was a regular speaker and author on maritime law topics and unconscious gender bias. She was the President of the Canadian chapter of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, whose mission is to promote gender diversity and equality in the shipping industry. She also served as VP Quebec and chaired several committees of the Canadian Maritime Law Association. She sat on the Maritime Law Executive and the Federal Court Bench and Bar Liaison Committee of the Canadian Bar Association.

Justice Rochester is a graduate of McGill University where she earned her B.A. Honors in Anthropology / Archeology, with a focus on maritime archeology, and then later her B.C.L and LL.B.. She earned both an LL.M. and a Ph.D. in maritime law from the University of Cape Town, South Africa