THE ADVOCATE 585
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
The Honourable Anne Rowles
The Honourable Anne Rowles was a central figure in
our legal community for over 40 years. Her energy,
wit and incisive intelligence made her a treasured
colleague, friend and mentor, whose legacy endures.
Alumna of UBC, called to the bar in 1969,
appointed in 1983 to the County Court then the
Supreme Court for eight years, Anne was the senior
justice of the Court of Appeal upon her retirement in 2011. She remained
active in law and policy reform in the years that followed, until she passed
away in November 2019.
There have been a number of tributes to Anne over the years. An excellent
piece was published in the September 2016 edition of the Advocate by
Anne’s friend the Honourable Nancy Morrison. The piece, written some
years after Anne’s retirement from the bench, looked back on her remarkable
life and career, and forward, as Anne continued in her contributions to
the legal community and beyond. It tells of Anne’s early years in practice,
where she was joined by Kathleen Keating and Alison MacLennan, at “a
time of few female law graduates and not a lot of welcome mats”; of Anne’s
enduring role as mentor, even to her judicial colleagues, reflected in the recollections
of Catherine Ryan and Jo-Ann Prowse, both retired from the
Court of Appeal; and of Anne’s extensive committee, pro bono and board
work. The piece is perfect—the tone reflecting the deep respect, intelligence,
affection and fun that marked Anne’s relationships. These years
later, on Anne’s passing, it is a commendable read.
The portrait on the cover of that edition of the Advocate, painted by David
Goatley, captured Anne in her garden—calm, capable, standing before a
quintessentially Vancouver rhododendron. It shows Anne very much of her
place, Vancouver, where she had lived since 1961. She came to UBC from
her home in the Okanagan, where she moved as a child with her parents
and two siblings from her birthplace, Empress, Alberta.
Anne was indeed very much of her place, deeply entrenched in and committed
to community. This manifested in many ways—through her work as a
judge, in her commitment to legal and community organizations, and in the
rich and varied network of friends Anne and her beloved husband Afton built.
Now, reflecting on Anne’s legacy, it is clear that she has touched so many
people, and so many institutions, that no single legacy can be generalized.