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
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
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
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 on
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
Mr. Kerans is a member of the
roster of Canadian Arbitrators to the ICC (International Court of
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 Alberta.
Mr. Kerans received alternative
dispute resolution training through ADR Chambers.