New Judge appointed to the Yukon’s Territorial Court

Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Yukon Tracy-Anne McPhee announced the appointment of Mr. John Phelps as a Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon. Judge Phelps replaces Judge Peter Chisholm, who is retiring from the Court.

The appointment of Judge Phelps was recommended by the Yukon’s Judicial Council pursuant to the Territorial Court Act. The Judicial Council is responsible for receiving and assessing applications for the position of Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon and are required to make recommendations to the Minister of Justice respecting appointments of judges.

Judge John Phelps attended Yukon College and has a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University (1993) with a major in Economics and an L.L.B. from University of Saskatchewan (1997).

Judge Phelps is well established in the Yukon’s legal community and brings a wealth of experience to the Territorial Court of Yukon, having worked as both defence counsel and a Crown prosecutor. He is well-known as an advocate for justice in the Yukon, including specialty courts, alternative justice initiatives and for his efforts to advance restorative Justice. His dedication to justice and the legal community is reflected in his strong record of public service, having held leadership roles with the Law Society of Yukon, the Yukon Capability and Consent Board and the Canadian Bar Association.

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of John Phelps as Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon. Judge Phelps has demonstrated a deep understanding and respect for the justice system throughout a decades-long career contributing to the Yukon’s legal community. He has broad experience and knowledge of Yukon First Nations’ history, culture and experiences of the justice system, and has been a strong advocate for advancing reconciliation within the territory’s justice system, informed by Yukon First Nations self-government agreements. His integrity, dedication and leadership continue to be reflected in his professional approach to public service, and I am confident that he will serve Yukoners well in his new judicial role.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Tracy-Anne McPhee


Judge Phelps is a fourth-generation Yukoner with strong roots in the territory and legal community. During the gold rush, Judge Phelps’ great grandfather travelled to the Yukon and was the  first lawyer to settle in Whitehorse. He had a long and successful legal practice in the territory, representing individuals such as Skookum Jim and Colonel Conrad. His grandfather was responsible for engineering and building the Yukon’s first hydroelectric dam, which is still operational today, and he was elected to the Yukon Government Council. His father, Willard Phelps, also a lawyer, had a long career as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly and served as government leader.  Judge Phelps lives in Whitehorse where he and his wife have raised five children and are proud grandparents of two. 


Jacob Wilson
Cabinet Communications
867- 332-7627

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