Independence of judicial appointment process is ‘under attack,’ says Criminal Lawyers’ Association

“This doesn’t need to be fixed,” says CLA President John Struthers. “It’s a perversion and corruption of the appointment process that everyone in the system opposes.”

The attorney general’s ministry said the changes are designed to fill vacancies in the judiciary more quickly, including by asking the committee to recommend candidates who have been examined for a similar position within the past year.

The changes also expand the pool of candidates from which the Attorney General selects judges. The attorney general now appoints the committee’s three attorney members from lists from the Law Society, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations.

“Instead of these organizations having an independent choice over their representatives, this must now be approved by the AG,” says Brown. “And that’s something that undermines the independence of the committee itself.”

Aside from the three attorneys, the remainder of the committee consists of two provincial justices appointed by the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice. seven persons who are neither judges nor lawyers and are appointed by the Attorney General and a member of the Judiciary Council appointed by the Judicial Council.

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