An Opportune Moment: The Judicial Appointment Reforms and the Judicial Credentials Demanded by the Charter

Daniel Nadler


In 2005, Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler proposed and tabled in Parliament a number of reforms to the federal judicial appointment process. These reforms were designed to increase the transparency and enhance the accountability of the procedures by which judges are appointed to federally operated Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Included in the reform package was a Code of Ethics for members of the judicial appointment committees, as well as a directive to publish on an annual basis the identity of the members of the judicial appointment committees, the number of total applications for judicial office, and the number of that total that have been recommended or highly recommended by the committee. Crucially, a set of guidelines for the operation of the judicial appointment committees was provided, which outlined the overriding principles that committee members were to consider during the appointment advisory process.

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