|For immediate release||July 18, 2016|
The Law Society recommends changes to the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process
Vancouver, July 18, 2016 – The Law Society of British Columbia submitted a report to the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould outlining recommended principles for the appointment of Justices to the Supreme Court of Canada. The report, approved by Benchers at their July 8 meeting, sets out four principles that the Law Society views as essential to the process of appointing Justices to the Court: transparency; judicial independence; merit and diversity; and public participation.
The Law Society suggests that the government consider these principles in the course of its review of the judicial appointment process.
In March 2016, it was announced that Mr. Justice Cromwell will resign from the Supreme Court of Canada effective September 1, 2016. The current government has stated its intention to review and renew the process for judicial appointments to the courts.
The Supreme Court of Canada is a vital component of Canada’s constitutional democracy. It plays a key role in maintaining the rule of law and is a cornerstone of the legal fabric of Canada. Accordingly, the process by which Supreme Court Justices are appointed directly impacts the public interest.
The current process by which candidates are evaluated and selected is largely unknown. For a number of recent appointments to the Court, the appointment process changed from one appointment to the next. It is the Law Society’s position that incorporating these four principles will enhance public confidence in the Court and in the legal system by ensuring candidates of the highest quality are appointed to the Court. Ultimately, this will promote and protect the rule of law.
The Law Society of British Columbia upholds and protects the public interest in the administration of justice by ensuring the independence, integrity and competence of lawyers, establishing education and professional development standards for lawyers, regulating the practice of law and preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.
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