ARCHIVED - Chapter 1: Who We are: The Office of the JAG - 2010-11

Signature of officials during the JAG Change of Command Ceremony.

Brigadier-General Cathcart assumes command of the Office of the JAG on 13 April 2010.

The Judge Advocate General (JAG)

The JAG is appointed by the Governor in Council to act as legal advisor to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in matters relating to military law. “Military law” is the broad legal discipline encompassing all international and domestic law relating to the CAF, including its governance, administration and activities. In addition, the JAG also has a statutory mandate to superintend the administration of military justice in the CAF. In this capacity, the JAG conducts regular reviews of the military justice system and submits an annual report, such as this one, to the Minister on the administration of military justice in the CAF.

Legal officer standing on a boat deck with Vancouver in the background.

Reserve Force legal advisors provide military justice advice to reserve units in Vancouver and throughout Canada, and augment the Office of the JAG in supporting operations.

Office of the Judge Advocate General

The Office of the JAG supports the JAG in his duties. It is composed of regular and reserve force legal officers, civilian members of the public service, and some CAF members from other military occupations. All legal officers serving in the Office of the JAG are fully qualified lawyers, members in good standing of their respective provincial or territorial law societies, and are commissioned officers in the CAF, ranging in rank from Captain/Lieutenant (Navy) to Brigadier-General/Commodore.

The National Defence Act (NDA) provides that the JAG is responsible to the Minister in the performance of the JAG’s duties and functions. Under regulations, every legal officer whose duty is the provision of legal services to the CAF shall be posted to a position established within the Office of the JAG. The JAG has command over all officers and non-commissioned members posted to a position established within the Office of the JAG. The duties of a legal officer posted to a position within the Office of the JAG are determined by or under the authority of the JAG and, in respect of the performance of those duties, a legal officer is not subject to the command of an officer who is not a legal officer. Thus, the structure of the NDA and the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces ensures that legal officers are able to provide independent legal advice.

Structurally, the Office of the JAG is composed of six sub-organizations: the Canadian Military Prosecution Service, Defence Counsel Services, and the following four divisions which are each headed by a Deputy Judge Advocate General (DJAG) in the rank of Colonel/Captain (Navy): Military Justice and Administrative Law, Operations, Regional Services, and Chief of Staff. In addition, the temporary Military Justice Strategic Response Team (MJSRT) was established during the previous reporting period to address various ongoing military justice policy and legislative challenges.

Canadian Military Prosecution Service (CMPS)

The CMPS is headed by the Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP). The DMP is the senior military prosecutor in the CAF, responsible for the conduct of all prosecutions at courts martial, and acts as counsel for the Minister on appeals to the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC) and the Supreme Court of Canada. The DMP also provides legal advice in support of investigations by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.

The DMP acts independently from the Office of the JAG and other CAF and DND authorities when exercising his powers, duties and functions but remains under the general supervision of the JAG, who may issue written general instructions or guidelines in respect of prosecutions. The JAG may also issue instructions or guidelines in respect of a particular prosecution, which must be made public unless the DMP considers that it would not be in the best interest of the administration of military justice to do so.

Defence Counsel Services (DCS)

Defence Counsel Services is headed by the Director of Defence Counsel Services (DDCS). The DDCS provides, and supervises and directs the provision of, legal services to persons who are liable to be charged, dealt with, and tried under the Code of Service Discipline (CSD). Although the DDCS acts under the general supervision of the JAG, he is independent of the Office of the JAG and other CAF and DND authorities when carrying out mandated functions which pertain to the defence of clients. The JAG may issue written general instructions or guidelines in respect of defence counsel services. However, unlike with the DMP, the JAG has no authority to issue instructions or guidelines in respect of a particular defence case.

Military Justice and Administrative Law (MJ&AL) Division

The MJ&AL Division is responsible for legal issues dealing with military justice and administrative law, including compensation and benefits. The division provides legal advice on a wide range of matters such as grievances by CAF members, administrative investigations such as summary investigations and boards of inquiry, pensions and estates, military personnel policy. Legal officers in this division undertake the development of legal policy and legislation related to military justice and to national defence. Owing to a continuously increasing workload, at the end of the reporting period this division was divided in two: an Administrative Law Division and a Military Justice Division. As a result, the Office of the JAG now has a Division solely dedicated to leading proactive change in the area of military justice in addition to one dealing with administrative law.

Operations Division

The Operations Division is responsible for providing legal support to the CAF and DND in relation to operational law. Operational law is that body of domestic and international law that applies to the conduct of all phases of a CAF operation at all levels of command. This includes advising on current, and preparing for future, operations conducted in Canada and abroad. Additionally, the Operations Division oversees all legal officers deployed on operations, and through these officers provides legal support to deployed CAF elements with regard to military law and military justice.

Three legal officers in a meeting.

Many JAG field offices, including this AJAG office in Victoria, benefit from the experience of Liaison Chief Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers assigned to the Office of the JAG.

Regional Services Division

Regional Services legal offices are located at CAF Bases and Wings throughout Canada, as well as in the United States and Germany. Through these offices, Regional Services is responsible for providing general legal support and advice on all areas of military law, including advice on military justice, administrative law, and operational law matters, to the chain of command.

Chief of Staff Division

The Chief of Staff (COS) Division is responsible for providing internal support and administrative services to the Office of the JAG. This includes military personnel management, financial services, information management, library services, and training, as well as overseeing all civilian staff in the Office of the JAG.

Military Justice Strategic Response Team (MJSRT)

The MJSRT was established in February 2010 as a stand-alone team reporting directly to the JAG. The team is responsible for addressing a wide range of policy and legislative initiatives relating to military justice, including the reintroduction of the legislative response to the Lamer Report recommendations in June 2010 (Bill C-41), the regulatory amendments that would be required as a result of these amendments, and facilitating the work of the next independent review of Bill C-25 (S.C. 1998, c.35) and Bill C-60 (S.C. 2008, c. 29). On 1 April 2011, many of the MJSRT roles and responsibilities were assumed by a permanent directorate created under the name Directorate of Law/Military Justice Strategic that was established within the newly created Military Justice Division.

Legal Officers Serving Outside the Office of the JAG

In addition to the legal officers serving in the above-mentioned organizations, a number of legal officers serve outside the Office of the JAG. This includes those working at the Canadian Forces Military Law Centre (CFMLC) in Kingston, Ontario – the CAF’s military legal education organization – and the Office of the Legal Advisor to the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces (DND/CF LA) – a Department of Justice Legal Services Unit – in Ottawa.

Organization Chart - Office of the Judge Advocate General

  • Minister of National Defence
    • Deputy Minister of National Defence
    • Chief of the Defence Staff
      • Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
      • Assistant Deputy Minister Human Resources Military
    • Judge Advocate General
      • JAG CWO
      • Special Assistant
      • Director of Military Prosecutions (under the general supervision of the JAG by virtue of NDA Section 165.17)
        • DMP Senior Prosecutions
        • DMP CFNIS Advisor
        • DMP 3 (policy, Training, Communications)
        • DMP 4 Appellate Counsel
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutions
          • Regional Military Prosecutor East
          • Regional Military Prosecutor West
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutions 2
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Atlantic
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Central
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutor/Reserves (JAG Reserve Position)
      • Director of Defence Counsel Services (under the general supervision of the JAG by virtue of NDA Section 249.2)
        • Deputy Director Defence Counsel Services/Reserves (JAG Reserve Position)
      • Deputy Legal Advisor DND & CF (9 legal officer positions on loan to DND/CF LA)
      • Deputy JAG/Regional Services
        • Assistant JAG Pacific
          • Deputy Judge Advocate COMOX
          • Deputy JAG Pacific (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG West
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Cold Lake
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Wainwright
          • Deputy Judge Advocate JTFN
          • Deputy AJAG West (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG Prairie
          • Deputy AJAG Prairie (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG Central
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Petawawa
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Trenton
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Borden
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Kingston
          • Deputy AJAG Central (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG East
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Valcartier
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Bagotville
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Quebec
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Saint Jean
          • Deputy AJAG East (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG Atlantic
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Gagetown
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Greenwood
          • Deputy AJAG Atlantic (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Assistant JAG Europe
        • Assistant JAG Colorado Springs
          • Deputy Judge Advocate NORAD
        • Deputy Judge Advocate Ottawa
      • Deputy JAG Operations
        • Assistant Deputy JAG Operations
        • SJS Legal Advisor
          • CANSOFCOM Legal Advisor
        • Director International & Operations Law
        • Director of Law Intelligence & Information OPS
        • Canada COM Legal Advisor
        • CEFCOM Legal Advisor
          • CANOSCOM Legal Advisor
        • Legal Advisor SHAPE
      • Deputy JAG/Military Justice & Admin Law
        • Asst. Deputy JAG/Mil. Justice & Admin Law
        • Dir. of Law/Mil. Justice Policy & Research
        • Dir. of Law/Military Personnel
        • Dir. of Law/Admin. Law
        • Dir. of Law/Compensation, Benefits, Pensions & Estates
      • Deputy JAG/Reserves
        • Assistant Deputy JAG/Reserves
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 1 (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 2 (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 3 (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 4 (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 5 (JAG Reserve Position)
        • Director of Law/Special Projects 6 (JAG Reserve Position)
      • Chief of Staff JAG
        • Deputy/Chief of Staff
        • CIMP PD
      • Military Justice Strategic Response Team (MJSRT)
        • MJSRT Team Leader
        • MJSRT COS

Canadian Offices of the Judge Advocate General in Canada

  • JAG Office
    • Ottawa (including CEFCOM, Canada COM, CANOSCOM, CANSOFCOM, Provost Marshal)
  • Assistant Judge Advocate General
    • Victoria
    • Edmonton
    • Winnipeg
    • Toronto
    • Montreal
    • Halifax
  • Deputy Judge Advocate General
    • Comox
    • Cold Lake
    • Borden
    • Trenton
    • Kingston
    • Petawawa
    • Ottawa
    • St-Jean
    • Valcartier
    • Naval Reserve Headquarters
    • Bagotville
    • Gagetown
    • Greenwood
  • Regional Military Prosecutors
    • Edmonton
    • Ottawa
    • Valcartier
    • Halifax
  • Directorate of Defence Counsel Services
    • Ottawa
  • Director of Military Prosecutions
    • Ottawa

Offices of the Judge Advocate General outside of Canada

  • JAG Office
    • Ottawa
  • Assistant Judge Advocate General
    • NORAD HQ, Colorado
    • Germany
  • Canadian Legal Advisors/Exchange Officers
    • Charlottesville, Virginia
    • SHAPE HQ, NATO HQ, Belgium
  • Operations
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Sudan
    • Afghanistan
    • Jerusalem
    • Italy

World map of the Judge Advocate General Offices outside of Canada

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