ARCHIVED - Introduction - Judge Advocate General Annual Report 2011-12

The Judge Advocate General, Major-General Blaise Cathcart

It is with great pleasure that I report on the administration of military justice in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. This is my second report since my appointment as the Judge Advocate General (JAG).

During the reporting period a total of 27 legal officers were deployed in support of domestic and international operations, such as Op NANOOK, a sovereignty operation conducted annually in Canada’s North, the transition from CAF combat mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to the training mission in Kabul, and the conduct of Op MOBILE the air and maritime missions to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions in respect of Libya. For these and other operations, all members of the Office of the JAG contributed to the provision of responsive, operationally focussed and solution oriented legal advice to the CAF and the Department of National Defence.

The Office of the JAG also promoted responsible development of, and positive change to, Canada’s military justice system by supporting the Government of Canada in two legislative initiatives. On 29 November 2011, Bill C-16, the Security of Tenure of Military Judges Act came into force, enhancing the institutional independence of military judges who preside at courts martial. On 7 October 2011, Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, was introduced in Parliament, and was still at first reading at the end of the reporting period. This Bill represents an attempt to further promote values of fairness and efficiency within the military justice system.

During the reporting period, the Office of the JAG demonstrated its commitment to proactive military justice oversight by providing administrative support to the Honourable Patrick J. Lesage who, as the Second Independent Review Authority, commenced a statutorily mandated review of key provisions of the National Defence Act. These efforts and other legislative and policy initiatives are described in greater detail in Chapter IV of this report.

It was a historic year for the Office of the JAG. In October 2011, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the appointment of the first Canadian Judge Advocate General. This historic milestone is discussed in Chapter II, which highlights the last 100 years of JAG provision of legal advice in matters related to military law.

Finally, during this reporting period, Sir Graham Day, O.N.S., Q.C., LL.B., LL.D. was appointed as the Colonel Commandant of the Legal Branch. We are fortunate to have such an esteemed lawyer and business person as a member of the JAG family.

I am proud of the efforts of all members of the Office of the JAG as they continue to assist me in my role as superintendent of the administration of military justice and in the provision of legal advice and services to the Governor General, the Minister, the Department of National Defence and the CAF across the full spectrum of military law, at home and abroad.

FIAT JUSTITIA!

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