Ottawa, June 9 2021

The Canadian Judicial Council publishes new Ethical Principles for Judges

Today, the Canadian Judicial Council published new and modernized Ethical Principles for Judges, after four years of work and unprecedented consultation with the judicial community and the public.

As Council’s most consulted publication since its first edition more than 20 years ago, Ethical Principles for Judges is meant to guide judges on issues related to the principles of independence, integrity, competence, equality and impartiality.

“Ethical considerations evolve and we must adapt to keep pace with society’s expectations,” noted the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada and Council Chairperson.  “These revised principles explore new and emerging issues relevant to our modern times.  As the Council marks its 50th anniversary in 2021, I can think of no better project to ensure that the values that underpin the role of judge continue to apply within an ever-changing societal context”.

While intended to assist judges with ethical questions they may encounter, Ethical Principles for Judges is also written to provide the public with a better understanding of the role of the judiciary.  These principles will help the Council fulfill its responsibilities to ensure that the judiciary and the public alike are aware of the ethical expectations that should guide judges in both their personal and professional lives. 

The new publication now provides guidance in case management and settlement conferences, social media, interacting with self-represented litigants, professional development and the post-judicial role. It also reflects the fact that judges are expected to be alert to the history, experience and circumstances of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, and to the diversity of cultures and communities that make up this country.

The revised bilingual principles are written using aspirational language and benefit from significant consultation.  The Council thanks all those who provided views and comments, in particular the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association.   The Council is also indebted to the work of its Judicial Independence and Appointment Process Committee.

Ethical Principles for Judges is published on the Canadian Judicial Council’s website at:



Johanna Laporte

Director of Communications

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