Strengthening judicial independence and increasing public confidence in the justice system:  Chief Justice of Canada and Minister of Justice sign two key Memoranda of Understanding 

News release

April 28, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

Judicial independence is a core principle of Canadian democracy and is critical to a well-functioning justice system. This principle is reinforced by a knowledgeable and informed judiciary, which is key to maintaining public confidence in the justice system and the rule of law.

Today, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada and Chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC), together with the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on judicial governance and judicial education.

The MOU on judicial governance recognizes that the principle of judicial independence includes the independence of the CJC in fulfilling its mandate to serve the public. This MOU also advances transparency by setting out key provisions relating to funding requests and the essential role of the CJC in the appointment of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, who is responsible for supporting the CJC’s daily operations.

The MOU on judicial education establishes how the federal government and the CJC engage with one another on this important matter, while honouring constitutional boundaries required by judicial independence and the separation of powers. It recognizes that judicial education is an essential element of Canada’s justice system, that Canada is an international leader in this field, and that initiatives concerning judicial education must be undertaken in a manner that respects judicial independence and embodies transparency and accountability to the public.

The CJC, which is composed of the chief justices and associate chief justices of Canada’s superior courts, is a key pillar of the judicial branch of government. It protects the independence of the judicial system and upholds the highest standards in the conduct and ongoing education of federally appointed judges, all to the benefit of Canadians.  

Quotes

“These Memoranda of Understanding are concrete measures that provide safeguards for judicial independence. By endorsing these two documents, the judiciary and the Government recognize that judicial independence is a fundamental principle, which is vital to maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice in Canada.”

The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C.
Chief Justice of Canada and Chairperson, Canadian Judicial Council

“These MOUs are important steps taken by the executive and judicial branches of government in reaffirming the independence of the Canadian Judicial Council. They represent a joint commitment by the Government and the Council to public accountability and to judicial independence, both essential for public confidence in the courts and respect for the rule of law.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • The MOUs are agreements between the Chief Justice of Canada, representing the CJC, and the Minister of Justice, representing the Government of Canada.

  • The CJC is composed of the 42 Chief and Associate Chief Justices of Canada’s superior courts. It is chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada.

  • Parliament established the CJC in 1971 through the Judges Act, with the mandate of promoting efficiency and uniformity, and improving judicial service in superior courts across the country. The CJC plays a key role in fostering the continuing education of judges and in overseeing the conduct of judges.

  • The CJC is supported in its day-to-day operations by a Secretariat, which is a part of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs (OCFJA).

  • The Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs is responsible for preparing budgetary submissions for the requirements of the CJC and for providing the necessary staff and other resources needed to support the CJC in fulfilling its mandate. The Commissioner also carries out other duties and functions to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and provide administrative services to federally appointed judges.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
613-992-6568
Chantalle.Aubertin@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

Johanna Laporte
Director of Communications
Canadian Judicial Council
613-288-1566 ext 313
info@cjc-ccm.ca

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