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Profile on The Honourable Justice Michael Kraus

Mar 9, 2020

Justice KrausAs an immigrant and refugee to Canada, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Michael Kraus brings to the Bench a history and life experience that is shared and reflected by many Canadians in this diverse, multicultural and inclusive country.

Justice Kraus also brings a deep appreciation of the democratic values and judicial institutions in Canada based on his family’s shattering experiences living through occupation and atrocities committed by foreign powers in his native Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic).

“As a newcomer to Canada from an immigrant background, I am deeply appreciative of our democratic institutions, our rights and freedoms, the rule of law and our justice system,” he says.

His father, George Kraus, was born in Prague in 1927 and was the only child of well-to-do parents who owned an electrical factory. However, in 1939, Adolf Hitler-led Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and the factory was expropriated. Justice Kraus’ father and grandparents were arrested for being Jewish and they were transported to Terezin concentration camp and then Auschwitz, where his grandparents and other family members were murdered upon arrival in 1942.

George Kraus survived two and a half years at Auschwitz, death marches in early 1945 and then three months at Buchenwald concentration camp before being liberated by American and Allied forces. He re-established his shattered life back in Czechoslovakia, became an accountant and eventually married and had two sons.

Then, on August 21, 1968, the then-Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia. Two weeks later the family of four escaped the country, landing in a refugee camp in Vienna, Austria for five weeks before being accepted as refugees in Canada and making their home in Edmonton.

“My family and personal background have helped to shape who I am and my understanding of the world,” says Justice Kraus. “The experiences of my parents during the holocaust, communist era and as Czech born refugees in Canada always helps me put matters into perspective.”

Justice Kraus attended the University of Alberta and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in 1986. He then attended Osgoode Hall Law School, graduating with a law degree in 1989.

Justice Kraus articled with Parlee McLaws and was called to the Alberta Bar in 1990. He then worked in general practice with Hattersley & Company for one year and Spitz & Carr for nine years. He joined Emery Jamieson LLP in February 2001 and practiced there, with a focus on family law, until his appointment to the Bench on August 31, 2018.

During his 28 years as a lawyer in private practice, Justice Kraus had extensive involvement with the Canadian Bar Association, serving on its various committees, councils, sections and as a mentor. Justice Kraus was an instructor with the Legal Education Society of Alberta, the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education and the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. He also volunteered as a child support resolution officer.

The Edmonton Justice provided many hours of pro bono legal and notarial services. He also volunteered for many years with several nonprofit associations, including serving as the President of the Edmonton Heritage Festival Association. In 2014, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel.

Justice Kraus believes that his most significant contribution to the law and pursuit of justice in Canada as a lawyer was helping Canadians resolve their legal issues. He is continuing that noble calling on the Bench.

When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and their three children.