Section IV - The Office of the Judge Advocate General - DPR - 2011-12

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The Office of the Judge Advocate General

The Judge Advocate General (JAG) carries out a statutorily-based mandate, set out in the National Defence Act, to act as legal advisor to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence (MND), the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) in matters relating to military law and superintends the administration of military justice. Military law encompasses all international and domestic law relating to the governance, administration and operations of the DND and CF. The JAG carries out his statutory mandate through the Office of the JAG.

The Minister of National Defence is statutorily required to cause regular independent reviews of the provisions in the National Defence Act amended by Bill C-25 in 1998 and table these reviews in Parliament. The first review was conducted by the late Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, former Chief Justice and his report was submitted to the Minister in 2003. After review of the Lamer report, Bill C-7 and Bill C-45 were introduced in Parliament in 2006 and 2008 respectively but neither Bill completed the Parliamentary process. On June 16, 2010, Bill C-41 was introduced.

Bill C-41 was reviewed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence in March 2011, following Second Reading. The Committee tabled its report but, the Bill died in late March 2011 due to the Federal election call. On October 7, 2011, the Minister of National Defence, introduced two bills in the House of Commons which proposed significant amendments to the NDA. The legislation reflected recommendations made by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC).

The proposed Bill C-16, the Security of Tenure of Military Judges Act responded to a June 2011 CMAC decision which found that the current provisions of the NDA and Queen's Regulation and Orders for the Canadian Forces did not sufficiently satisfy the constitutional requirements of judicial independence. The legislation was also consistent with recommendations made in 2003 by the late Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, former Chief Justice, following his independent review of the NDA. Bill C-16 received Royal Assent in late November 2011.

The proposed Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act reflects a series of recommendations made by former Chief Justice Lamer, as well as those made in May 2009 by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. This Bill is currently before the House of Commons for the completion of Second Reading.

A significant number of consequential amendments to the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O) were made. The regulations related to Bill C-16 were implemented in December 2011 following the Royal Assent of Bill C-16. The regulations related to Bill C-15 are proceeding through the department in anticipation of the eventual Royal Assent of Bill C-15.

The Second Independent Review by former Ontario Chief Justice Lesage was provided to the MND in late December 2011 and will be tabled in Parliament in 2012.

During the reporting period legal officers from the Office of the JAG provided legal services (including services provided by deployed legal officers) to CF international operations – most notably combat, mission transition and training operations in Afghanistan and air and maritime operations in Libya in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 and 1973 as well as to CF domestic operations – including sovereignty operations across Canada's North, assistance to Canadian law enforcement authorities such as the RCMP and CBSA, assistance to civil authorities in addressing humanitarian situations such as fires and floods, and maritime operations in the Caribbean Sea in support of US Coast Guard counter-narcotics law enforcement operations. CF legal officers have also provided legal advice in respect of the negotiation and implementation of international agreements impacting upon CF operations and have been active participants in numerous international efforts to clarify and disseminate international law such as the forthcoming Tallinn Manual on international law related to cyber operations.

The demand for legal advice and services during the planning and conduct of CF international and domestic operations is but one expression of the emphasis that the DND and CF places on the adherence to the Rule of Law. The Office of the Judge Advocate General also provides legal advice in respect of a number of important administrative law issues. This included providing legal advice in the resolution of grievances by the final authority in the grievance process; providing legal advice in respect of creating compensation and benefits policies for CF members and creating military HR policy and providing legal advice on the structure and organization of the CF. Also, the Office of the JAG provided key legal advice respecting the stand-up of Shared Services Canada. During the reporting year, the Office of the JAG was responsible for implementing the special voting rules in respect of the 41st federal election; and was responsible for administering the service estates of deceased CF members.

Legal officers were also active in the provision of legal advice and services within the military justice system both at the summary trial level and as counsel before courts martial, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. This high level of engagement both assisted in the further development of the military justice system as a means of fairly administering discipline and contributed to the evolution of Canadian law.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-12 demands for JAG legal services were at their highest point since the Office began tracking this data in 1998, a 17% increase over FY 2010-11 demand. During FY 2011/12, as per the JAGs Mission and Vision document, the Office of the JAG demonstrated the ability to be an agile military team of operationally-focused, globally deployable and networked professionals. This contributed to a disciplined force and mission success.

Financial Resources
Financial resources
($ thousands)
Actual Spending 2009-10 Actual Spending 2010-11 Planned Spending 2011-12 Total Authorities 2011-12 Actual Spending 2011-12
Vote 1 - Salary and Personnel1 5,445 5,989 6,499 6,914 6,371
Vote 1 - Operating and Maintenance2 2,982 2,999 3,387 3,192 3,349
Sub-total Vote 1 8,427 8,988 9,886 10,106 9,720
Vote 5 – Capital3 53 103 63 153 58
Grand total 8,479 9,091 9,949 10,259 9,778
Corporate Account
Vote 1 – Crown Liabilities4 249 145 212 252 204
Grand total 8,728 9,236 10,161 10,511 9,982

Source: Office of the Judge Advocate General / Assistant Deputy Minister (Finance and Corporate Services)

Due to rounding, figures may not add up to totals shown.

Notes: The difference between Planned Spending and Actual Spending for FY 2011-12 is due to the following:

  1. Salary and Personnel - The $128K variance is due to delays in staffing of civilian vacant positions.
  2. Operating and Maintenance - The $38K variance is due to a hiring freeze on temporary help services (THS) that is used to off set vacant civilian positions.
  3. Capital - The $5K variance is due to under spending in a few minor cubicle relocation/reconstruction projects.
  4. Crown Liability - The $8K variance is due to fewer costs incurred for the transportation of witnesses to Court Martials.
Human Resources
Regular Force 134 142 148 144
Civilian FTEs 93 80 90 87
TOTAL 227 222 238 231

Source: Office of the Judge Advocate General

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