Mr. Roger P. Kerans was appointed a Judge: 1970. For the next 10 years, he was a Trial Judge with the
District Court and the Queen's Bench in the
province of Alberta. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal of Alberta in 1980, and served on that Court until his retirement from the Bench in 1997. He was also for
many years a deputy judge of the Yukon Supreme Court.
Mr. Kerans has conducted three judicial inquiries. He has also been consulted by Europe to do a
study of the magistrates in Malawi, and by Canada to assess studies about methods to calculate
required judicial manpower. In 2004 he served on a Commission mandated to fix judicial
compensation for Yukon Territorial Court judges.
During his 17 years on the Court of Appeal, Mr. Kerans was the author of many well-known and
highly-respected decisions. He wrote several important oil and gas law decisions and, having
been appointed to the Court of Appeal just before the advent of the Charter, participated in several famous early Charter cases.
In addition to almost 1,000 published opinions, he has
written occasionally for law reviews. One study reported that Mr. Kerans was quoted with
approval by the Supreme Court of Canada more often than any other Western Judge. Another said
that some of his decisions "have gained currency second only to the Supreme Court of Canada."
In the course of his career as a judge, Mr. Kerans participated in many decisions that have
become important precedents in the area of oil & gas law, contract law, and insurance law. In the
petrochemical field, these include several decisions now often cited for the rule of law first stated
in them. In the contracts field, Mr. Kerans participated in several well-known cases involving
construction claims, including the explosion of the Empress Gas Plant as well as the collapse of the
rollercoaster at West Edmonton Mall. He also articulated several rules about contracts that are
now widely accepted.
Active in judicial administration throughout his career as a judge, Mr. Kerans was Associate Chief
Judge of the District Court of Alberta from 1975 until 1979, when the Court was merged with the
Court of Queen's Bench. He established for his court a modem hearing list management system, now
used by all Alberta, and many other, courts. His interest in modernization of courts led him to
advocate Court mergers and other structural changes. The merger of the Courts in Alberta established
a model followed in every Canadian jurisdiction.
A student of the French language for many years, Mr. Kerans passed the official bilingualism
examination on July 28th, 1986, and soon afterwards presided at the first appellate hearing in the
history of Alberta conducted entirely in French.
Mr. Kerans' interest in judicial administration led him to publish a book, in 1994, entitled Standards
of Review Employed by Appellate
Courts (Juriliber), which is the first book-length study of that topic that analyzes both American and Commonwealth cases.
Mr. Kerans taught Charter law, jurisprudence, and court management at judicial seminars for over
two decades. He was a founding member of the organizing committee for the Canadian Appellate
Judges Seminar, and, for many years, was a director of the Legal Education Society of Alberta. He
has lectured to the Bar and the public on a variety of topics. He is now a lecturer at the Law Faculty,
University of Victoria, where he teaches Oil and Gas law.
Born in Lashburn, Saskatchewan, Mr. Kerans lived as a youth both in Edmonton and Calgary, as
well as Saskatchewan. He took his arts and law at the University of Alberta. In 1975, he was asked
to move to Calgary to take up his duties as Associate Chief Judge, after residing for 30 years in
Edmonton as a student, lawyer and judge. Prior to his appointment to the Bench, Mr. Kerans practised law in
Edmonton for 13 years, latterly with the firm of Ogilvie & Co.