Judicial Appointments - Oct. 9, 2012.pdf

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Published on 12 Oct 2012
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The selection of candidates.
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The screening of candidates.
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The final appointments.
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96 Courts
S.
Officially, judges on these courts are appointed by the Governor General.
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Patronage has always been questioned when it comes to appointing judges.
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Concerns over patronage have led to several changes over time.
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Independence is gone?
What is wrong with patronage?
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The only exception to these rules is the section of the Chief Justice on each court - that
is the prerogative of the prime minister.
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Limit powers of few who make arbitrary decisions.
One way to potentially limit patronage is to change the process of appointment:
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Patronage was a significant influence on judicial appointments.
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Patronage is sometimes difficult to gauge…
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The OFCJA organizes the JACs (Judicial Appointments Committees) in each
province and/or territory.
The JACs are responsible for looking through lawyers for assessing the
qualifications of the lawyers who apply for federal judicial appointments and who
then make recommendations to the Minister.
The commissioner is responsible for accepting applications.
Three representatives of the general public (appointed by the federal
minister).
Two members from the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society in
each province and/or territory.
One nominated by the Chief Justice from each province/territory.
One judicial chair.
Up until recently, JACs had seven members and were appointed for a 2-year term:
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Ten years of experience as a lawyer (in good standing).
Professional competence and experience.
Personal characteristics.
Social awareness.
Potential impediments to appointments.
The commission has to verify that applicants meet the requirements for a federal judge.
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They have limited powers, except for making these recommendations/rankings.
The ranking system actually emerged over time, it did not exist before 1991.
JACs also do not provide recommendations for all ready existing applicants
(judges seeking promotion to appellate courts).
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On November 10, 2006, former Conservative Justice Minister Vic Toews
announced that a representative of the law enforcement community will sit on
Controversies of the JAC:
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Scholars tell us that judicial appointment must be understood in three stages:
Judicial Appointments - Oct. 9, 2012
October-09-12
11:38 AM
POLS 303 Page 1
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Document Summary

Scholars tell us that judicial appointment must be understood in three stages: Officially, judges on these courts are appointed by the governor general. Yet , for federal appointments, the minister of justice and the prime minister have wielded the most influential role in appointing s. 96 judges. Patronage has always been questioned when it comes to appointing judges. Concerns over patronage have led to several changes over time. Several screens are created (post-trudeau) to improve the quality of judicial appointment. Today, the minister of justice is largely responsible for bringing forward to cabinet names of persons to fill most of the judgeships at the disposal of the feds. The only exception to these rules is the section of the chief justice on each court - that is the prerogative of the prime minister. One way to potentially limit patronage is to change the process of appointment: Limit powers of few who make arbitrary decisions.

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