Mr. Kerans was appointed a Judge in 1970.
For the next ten years, he was a Trial Judge with the District Court and
Queen's Bench in 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.
In 1974, Mr. Kerans was named by the Lougheed government to head a Commission of Inquiry
into some aspects of the life insurance industry in Alberta. His report
led to charges and criminal convictions of several persons. Suggested
changes were also implemented in regulatory and prosecutorial procedures.
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 modern
hearing list management system, now used by all of 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.
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.
A student of the French language for many years, Mr. Kerans passed the official bilingualism examination
in July 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 was a Deputy Judge of the Supreme
Court of the Yukon for over 25 years, having been admitted to the Yukon
Bar in 1960. He was also a member of the Court of Appeal for the
Prior to his appointment to the Bench, Mr. Kerans
practised law in Edmonton for 13 years with the firm of Ogilvie & Co.
His brief legal career was varied, but included the defence of the last
person in Alberta condemned to die for a crime and the first person
charged under the then-new obscenity laws.
After his retirement from the Bench, he rejoined The Law Society of
Alberta, and became Counsel to Howard Mackie in Calgary. He has limited
his practice to ADR work, teaching and intra-professional consultation.
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.
A student of computers, Mr. Kerans has also
lectured on various topics in this area. With the cooperation of the
Alberta government, he established a programme for reading appeal books
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.
His community involvement turned for years on the Kidney Foundation of
Canada. After founding the Alberta Branch, he was National President of
that organization from 1975 to 1976. He was also active in partisan and
civic politics before his appointment to the Bench.
Mr. Kerans is a member of the roster of
Canadian Arbitrators to the ICC (International Court of Arbitration).
As a member of ADR Chambers, Western Region, Mr. Kerans
is available for all forms of alternative dispute resolution throughout
British Columbia and Alberta.
As a member of the ADR Chambers Appeal Panel, he is also available to
hear Private Appeals from Arbitral Awards in British Columbia, and
Private Arbitration Appeals from Arbitral Awards and Trial Judgments in
Mr. Kerans received alternative dispute
resolution training through ADR Chambers.