Chapter 1: Who We are: The Office of the JAG - 2014-15

The Judge Advocate General

The Judge Advocate General (JAG) is appointed by the Governor in Council and acts as legal adviser to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence (the Minister), the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in matters relating to military law. The term "military law" describes 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 provides regular updates to the Minister on the administration of military justice in the CAF, including through the submission of an annual report.

Office of the Judge Advocate General

The Office of the JAG is composed of CAF Regular and Reserve Force legal officers, civilian members of the Public Service, and a small number of CAF members from other military occupations. All qualified legal officers serving in the Office of the JAG are members in good standing of their respective provincial or territorial law societies, and are officers ranging in rank from Captain/Lieutenant (Navy) to Major-General.

The JAG is responsible to the Minister in the performance of his duties and functions. The JAG has command over all officers and non-commissioned members posted to a position established within the Office of the JAG. Therefore, the duties of a legal officer 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. This structure reinforces the obligations of the legal profession and ensures that legal officers are able to provide independent legal advice.

The Office of the JAG is composed of the Directorate of Military Prosecutions, the Directorate of Defence Counsel Services, and the following five Divisions: Military Justice, Administrative Law, Operational Law, Regional Services, and Chief of Staff.

Director of Military Prosecutions

The Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) is the senior military prosecutor in the CAF. The DMP is responsible for preferring all charges to be tried by court martial, for the conduct of all prosecutions at court martial and for acting as counsel for the Minister in respect of appeals to the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. The DMP also provides legal advice in support of investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, a military police service that reports to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.

The DMP is appointed by the Minister for a fixed term and acts independently from CAF and DND authorities when exercising his prosecutorial powers, duties and functions. The DMP is under the general supervision of the JAG and, in this regard, the JAG may issue general instructions or guidelines in writing in respect of prosecutions, which the DMP must ensure are made available to the public. The JAG may also issue instructions or guidelines in writing in respect of a particular prosecution. The DMP must ensure that these instructions or guidelines are also available to the public, unless the DMP considers that doing so would not be in the best interest of the administration of military justice. During the reporting period, no general or specific instructions were issued to the DMP.

In accordance with the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O) 110.11 the DMP reported to the JAG on the execution of his duties and functions during this reporting period. This report was received by the JAG on 11 May 2015.

Director of Defence Counsel Services

The Director of Defence Counsel Services (DDCS) supervises and directs the provision of legal services to persons who are liable to be charged, dealt with or tried under the Code of Service Discipline (CSD). These legal services, including full legal representation at trial, are provided at no cost to the individual.

The DDCS is appointed by the Minister for a fixed term. Although under the general supervision of the JAG, the DDCS is independent of the JAG and other CAF and DND authorities when carrying out the wide array of prescribed duties and functions that pertain to providing defence counsel services to persons subject to the CSD at each stage of the investigative and judicial processes. The JAG may issue written general instructions or guidelines in respect of defence counsel services. The DDCS is required to make these general instructions or guidelines available to the public. However, unlike with the DMP, the JAG has no authority to issue instructions or guidelines in respect of a particular defence case. During the reporting period, no general instruction was issued to the DDCS.

In accordance with QR&O 101.11(4) the DDCS is required to report to the JAG on the provision of legal services prescribed by regulations and the performance of any other duties that are not incompatible with the duties as defence counsel. In a letter dated 30 March 2015, the DDCS advised the JAG that the submission of his (DDCS) report would be delayed. This report had not been received by the JAG at the time of writing.

Military Justice Division

The Military Justice Division assists the JAG in superintending the administration of military justice and ensuring its responsible development within the Canadian justice system. It was previously divided into two directorates: Military Justice Strategic and Military Justice Operations. During the reporting period, several competing strategic priorities and resource challenges led the Deputy JAG for Military Justice to reorganize the Division on a "task force" basis, forming three directorates, each of which is focused on accomplishing one or more priority tasks. The JAG reallocated a director position to fill the newly formed directorate. This reorganization ensures that the JAG is fully supported in relation to his statutory responsibilities. One of the teams assists with key aspects of the superintendence of the administration of military justice, provides legal advice to the Canadian Forces Military Police Group Headquarters and supports the JAG with the day-to-day operation of the military justice system. Another team is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic military justice vision that allows the Office of the JAG and the CAF to anticipate and respond to external and internal challenges while bringing positive change to the military justice system. The third team is focused entirely on the development of military justice regulations, including but not limited to amendments to the QR&O required to bring the remaining provisions of Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, into force.

Administrative Law Division

The Administrative Law Division advises on legal matters pertaining to the administration of the CAF. DND officials and CAF authorities derive their appointments and powers from statutory authorities largely contained in the National Defence Act (NDA). Given the size and complexity of the CAF and the multitude of administrative decisions made each day, one of the objectives of providing legal advice in the administrative law realm is to ensure that these decisions are made in accordance with the applicable legislation, the rule of law and procedural fairness requirements. The Division is composed of three directorates: Military Personnel; Administrative Law; and, Compensation, Benefits, Pensions and Estates. The Division provides legal services on specific matters, such as military personnel policies, administrative investigations, compensation, benefits, pensions and estates, and advice on grievances.

Operational Law Division

The Operational Law Division provides legal support to the CAF and DND in matters related to operational law. Operational law is the body of domestic and international law that applies to the conduct of all phases of CAF international or domestic operations at each level of command. Additionally, the Operational Law Division oversees all legal officers deployed on operations. These legal officers provide legal support to deployed CAF elements in all aspects of military law, including the military justice system.

Regional Services Division

The Regional Services Division delivers legal services to CAF units in Canada, Europe and the United States. Its legal offices are divided into various regions, led by an Assistant Judge Advocate General (AJAG), and provide general legal support and advice to Regular and Reserve Force component commands, formations and units, on all areas of military law, including advice on military justice, administrative law and operational law matters.

Chief of Staff Division

The Chief of Staff Division is composed of legal officers, other CAF officers and non-commissioned members along with civilian staff. This 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. The non-legal military personnel are an essential part of this Division and key contributors to our success in administrative and financial tasks.

Civilian Personnel of the Office of the Judge Advocate General

Civilian personnel form an integral and essential part of the Office of the JAG and contribute greatly to its continued success. They occupy positions located throughout CAF Bases and Wings in Canada and abroad, and provide key support to legal officers and non-legal military personnel, such as through their work in administrative, analytical and technical tasks.

JAG Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) and Office of the JAG’s CWOs and Chief Petty Officers 1st Class (CPO1s)

The JAG CWO serves as the senior non-commissioned member (NCM) advisor to the JAG. Based on the command team concept, the JAG CWO provides perspective to the JAG and his leadership team on strategic issues related to the JAG’s statutory roles, the CAF and the Office of the JAG. Other experienced CWOs and CPO1s are posted to positions in the AJAG offices within Canada and in some Deputy Judge Advocate offices. The AJAG and DJA CWOs/CPO1s provide an invaluable link between senior NCMs and disciplinarians at the unit, base and formation levels and the local legal office in addressing disciplinary matters. With the assistance of Office of the JAG legal officers, they also provide military justice training and assist legal officers in the fulfillment of their responsibilities to provide solution oriented and operationally focused legal advice.

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. They include those working at the Privy Council Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the Office of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces Legal Advisor, the Canadian Forces Military Law Centre, and the Court Martial Administrator.2

Organization Chart - Office of the Judge Advocate General

  • Minister of National Defence
    • Deputy Minister of National Defence
    • Chief of Defence Staff
    • Judge Advocate General
      • JAG CWO
      • JAG Special Assistant
      • Deputy JAG/Strategic Coordinator
      • Deputy JAG/Reserves
      • Director of Military Prosecutions (under the general supervision of the JAG by virtue of NDA section 165.17)
        • Assistant DMP
          • DMP CFNIS Advisor
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Eastern
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutions Western
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Western
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Pacific
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutions Central and Alantic
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Atlantic
          • Regional Military Prosecutor Central
        • Deputy Director Military Prosecutions/Reserves
      • Director of Defence Counsel Services (under the general supervision of the JAG by virtue of NDA section 249.2)
        • Assistant Director Defence Counsel Services
        • Deputy Director Defence Counsel Services/Reserves
      • Deputy JAG/Regional Services
        • Assistant Deputy JAG/Regional Services
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Ottawa
        • Assistant JAG Pacific
          • Deputy Judge Advocate COMOX
          • Deputy AJAG Pacific (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Western
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Cold Lake
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Wainwright
          • Deputy Judge Advocate JTFN
          • Deputy AJAG Western (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Prairie
          • Deputy AJAG Prairie (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Central
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Petawawa
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Trenton
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Borden
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Kingston
          • Deputy AJAG Central (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Eastern
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Valcartier
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Bagotville
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Québec
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Saint-Jean
          • Deputy AJAG Eastern (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Atlantic
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Gagetown
          • Deputy Judge Advocate Greenwood
          • Deputy AJAG Atlantic (Reserve position)
        • Assistant JAG Europe
        • Assistant JAG Colorado Springs
      • Deputy JAG/Operations
        • Assistant Deputy JAG/Operations
        • CANSOFCOM Legal Advisor
        • Strategic Joint Staff Legal Advisor
        • Director International & Operational Law
        • Director of Law/Intelligence & Information Operations
        • CJOC Legal Advisor
        • Legal Officer seconded to PCO
        • Legal Officer seconded to DFATD
      • Deputy JAG/Military Justice
        • Director of Law/Military Justice Operations
        • Director of Law/Military Justice Strategic
      • Chief of Staff JAG
        • Canadian Forces Military Law Centre (*CFMLC is part of Canadian Defence Academy)
        • 8 Legal Officer Positions on loan to DND/CF LA
      • Deputy JAG/Admin Law
        • Director of Law/Admin Law
        • Director of Law/Compensation, Benefits, Pensions & Estates
        • Director of Law/Military Personnel

Canadian Offices of the Judge Advocate General

  • JAG Office
    • Ottawa
  • Assistant Judge Advocate General
    • Esquimalt
    • Edmonton
    • Winnipeg
    • Toronto
    • Montreal
    • Halifax
  • Deputy Judge Advocate General
    • Comox
    • Cold Lake
    • Yellowknife
    • Borden
    • Trenton
    • Kingston
    • Petawawa
    • Ottawa
    • Saint-Jean
    • Valcartier
    • Québec City
    • Bagotville
    • Gagetown
    • Greenwood
  • Regional Military Prosecutors
    • Esquimalt
    • 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
  • Operations
    • Persian Gulf


2 The legal advisor to the Court Martial Administrator provides legal advice independent of the Office of the JAG.

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