Proposed changes to judicial appointments process under fire at provincial standing committee

Currently, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Appointments recommends at least two candidates for a vacancy, but the changes would increase that number to six. The attorney general may reject the recommendation of the six-candidate committee and request a new list. In a statement to the Law Times, Charlene Theodore, president of the Ontario Bar Association, said that this proposal, although controversial, is seen by the OBA as an opportunity.

“After meeting members of the OBA from all over the province, I see a membership full of diverse, intelligent, fair lawyers who are committed to bringing justice to the public,” said Theodore. “… Not a week goes by without meeting many different OBA members. I would be proud to see you at the bank and would be proud to have you as an OBA representative for JAAC.”

“I think the leaders of most other organizations could say the same about their memberships. We underestimate the high quality bar in this province when we imagine that a short list of six people will inevitably lead to political prejudice. “

A six-person list allows for more diversity, and Theodore adds that as the largest and most diverse legal association, the OBA’s job is to ensure that members from racial communities apply for vacancies. “And that’s what we’re working on with our justice programs,” she says.

However, the proposed change, which would allow the WG to request an additional list of six names instead of choosing from the original list, requires more transparency to prevent “list purchases,” says Theodore.

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