Canadian Judicial Council holds its Semi-Annual Fall Meeting in Alberta
With pandemic restrictions becoming more relaxed across the country, Canada’s Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices held this week their second semi-annual meeting in person, in Calgary, Alberta.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Justice of Canada and Chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, thanked members who recently retired, as well as those attending their last meeting, for their valuable contributions and stewardship, and congratulated new Chief Justices attending their first Council meeting.
The Council heard from the Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General of Canada. Council members expressed disappointment that legislative reforms to the judicial conduct process have yet to be adopted by Parliament, and again strongly urged the government to proceed with those as soon as possible. As well, despite the ongoing efforts and collaboration of the Minister of Justice, the Council expressed concern over the judicial appointment process and underscored the need for the government to appoint judges in a timely manner to allow the superior courts to administer justice as efficiently as possible for the benefit of all Canadians.
The Council Chairperson and the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs took the opportunity to better define their operational relationship and to reaffirm the independence of Council in fulfilling its mandate, as well as the Commissioner’s obligations and accountabilities under the law.
During their meeting, Council members discussed a number of issues of relevance, including:
- Best practices and advice for judges as they execute their case management responsibilities in civil matters, in an effort to maximize efficiency and improve access the justice.
- An update on the work of the National Committee on Jury Instructions, which reviews and updates English and French model jury instructions to keep up with changes in law and to improve the administration of justice generally.
- A review of Council’s pilot project with CanLII to test the feasibility of current guidelines and identify best practices as to how courts may address requests for bulk access to court information by commercial entities.
- The development of model policies for the classification and retention of court information.
- A renewed focus on Council’s role in public education and the commitment to undertake pro-active outreach and public education activities.
In addition, recognizing the measurable advancements that recent investments in digital technology have produced within the courts and the justice system, the Council resolved that judicial leadership should continue to be exercised to ensure that forward momentum is sustained.
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