Preserving judicial independence in Ontario

November 29, 2019

“The system is made up of more than just a political branch. The whole point of having a judiciary is to hold [the premier] in check in the event that he does something that is tyrannical or oppressive.” – Michael Bryant, CCLA Executive Director & General Counsel.

Judicial independence must be preserved in Ontario. Our criminal justice system relies on the independence of our judges, and we must ensure that foundational principles of due process and a fair trial are protected. As governments across Canada take actions that restrict the human rights of everyday people, preserving judicial independence is more important than ever.

“Judicial appointments are not supposed to be democratic. They’re supposed to be independent of the other branches of the state.” – Bryant.

Attorney General Downey has proposed maintaining a pool of candidates for judicial vacancies, replacing the current judicial appointment process, which involves the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee making a shortlist of recommendations to the Attorney General. A bill is yet to be presented by the Attorney General which formalizes this proposal.

“It’s one thing to inherit a system that permits cronyism, it’s another thing to get rid of a well-respected system that preserves independence … and we don’t want to prejudge the bill. But his remarks up to today are seemed to focus more on the lawyers and not on the court itself, and the principles of due process and a fair trial.” – Bryant.

We are prepared to fight any bill that threatens judicial independence.