Judges Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. J-1)
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Act current to 2023-03-20 and last amended on 2022-09-23. Previous Versions
PART IJudges and Associate Judges (continued)
Absence from Judicial Duties
Marginal note:Leave of absence
54 (1) No judge of a superior court shall be granted leave of absence from his or her judicial duties for a period
(a) of six months or less, except with the approval of the chief justice of the superior court; or
(b) of more than six months, except with the approval of the Governor in Council.
Marginal note:Notification of leave by chief justice
(1.1) Whenever a leave of absence is granted under paragraph (1)(a), the chief justice of the superior court shall, without delay, notify the Minister of Justice of Canada and, in the case of provincial or territorial courts, the minister of justice or the attorney general of the province or territory.
Marginal note:Notification of leave by Minister of Justice of Canada
(1.2) Whenever a leave of absence is granted under paragraph (1)(b), the Minister of Justice of Canada shall, without delay, notify the chief justice of the superior court and, in the case of provincial or territorial courts, the minister of justice or the attorney general of the province or territory.
Marginal note:Report by chief justice of absence
(2) If it appears to the chief justice of a superior court that a judge of the court is absent from the judge’s judicial duties without the approval required by subsection (1), the chief justice shall report the absence to the Minister of Justice of Canada.
Marginal note:Absentee judge to report
(3) Whenever a judge of a superior court is absent from the judge’s judicial duties for a period of more than 30 days, the judge shall report the absence and the reasons for it to the Minister of Justice of Canada.
(4) [Repealed, 2017, c. 33, s. 252]
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 54
- 1992, c. 51, s. 24
- 1996, c. 30, s. 4
- 1999, c. 3, s. 76
- 2002, c. 7, s. 194, c. 8, s. 101
- 2012, c. 31, s. 218
- 2017, c. 33, s. 252
Marginal note:Judicial duties exclusively
55 No judge shall, either directly or indirectly, for himself or herself or others, engage in any occupation or business other than his or her judicial duties, but every judge shall devote himself or herself exclusively to those judicial duties.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 55
- 2002, c. 8, s. 102(E)
Marginal note:Acting as commissioner, etc.
56 (1) No judge shall act as commissioner, arbitrator, adjudicator, referee, conciliator or mediator on any commission or on any inquiry or other proceeding unless
(a) in the case of any matter within the legislative authority of Parliament, the judge is by an Act of Parliament expressly authorized so to act or the judge is thereunto appointed or so authorized by the Governor in Council; or
(b) in the case of any matter within the legislative authority of the legislature of a province, the judge is by an Act of the legislature of the province expressly authorized so to act or the judge is thereunto appointed or so authorized by the lieutenant governor in council of the province.
Marginal note:Acting as statutory assessor or arbitrator
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to judges acting as arbitrators or assessors of compensation or damages under any public Act, whether of general or local application, of Canada or of a province, whereby a judge is required or authorized without authority from the Governor in Council or lieutenant governor in council to assess or ascertain compensation or damages.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 56
- 1996, c. 10, s. 233
56.1 (1) Notwithstanding section 55, Madam Justice Louise Arbour of the Ontario Court of Appeal is authorized to take a leave from her judicial duties to serve as Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia and of the International Tribunal for Rwanda.
(2) Madam Justice Louise Arbour may receive moving or transportation expenses and reasonable travel and other expenses, in connection with her service as Prosecutor, from the United Nations.
Marginal note:Leave without pay
(3) Madam Justice Louise Arbour may elect to take a leave of absence without pay for the purpose described in subsection (1), in which case she is not entitled to receive any salary or allowances under this Act for the duration of the leave, but may receive remuneration from the United Nations for her service as Prosecutor.
Marginal note:Ceasing contributions
(4) If Madam Justice Louise Arbour elects to take a leave of absence without pay under subsection (3), she shall not continue the contributions required by section 50 for the duration of the leave and that section does not apply to her for the duration of the leave, which duration shall not be counted as time during which she held judicial office for the purposes of sections 28, 29 and 42.
Marginal note:Deemed salary in event of death
(5) For the purposes of subsections 44(1) and (2), section 46.1 and subsection 47(3), if Madam Justice Louise Arbour dies while on a leave of absence without pay, she is deemed to be in receipt at the time of death of the salary that she would have been receiving if she had not been absent on leave without pay.
- 1996, c. 30, s. 5
Marginal note:No extra remuneration
57 (1) Except as provided in subsection (3), no judge shall accept any salary, fee, remuneration or other emolument or any expenses or allowances for acting in any capacity described in subsection 56(1) or as administrator or deputy of the Governor General or for performing any duty or service, whether judicial or executive, that the judge may be required to perform for or on behalf of the Government of Canada or the government of a province.
(2) The right of a judge to receive remuneration under any Act of the legislature of a province, other than for acting in any capacity described in subsection 56(1), is not affected by subsection (1), but no judge is entitled to receive remuneration under any such Act or Acts in an aggregate amount exceeding $3,000 per annum.
Marginal note:Expenses excepted
(3) In the cases described in subsection (1), a judge may receive his or her moving or transportation expenses and the reasonable travel and other expenses incurred by him or her away from his or her ordinary place of residence while acting in any such capacity or in the performance of any such duty or service, in the same amount and under the same conditions as if the judge were performing a function or duty as such judge, if those expenses are paid in respect of any matter within the legislative authority of Parliament, by the Government of Canada, and in respect of any matter within the legislative authority of the legislature of a province, by the government of the province.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 57
- 2002, c. 8, s. 103(E)
PART IICanadian Judicial Council
Definition of Minister
58 In this Part, Minister means the Minister of Justice of Canada.
Constitution of the Council
Marginal note:Council established
59 (1) There is hereby established a Council, to be known as the Canadian Judicial Council, consisting of
(a) the Chief Justice of Canada, who shall be the chairman of the Council;
(b) the chief justice and any senior associate chief justice and associate chief justice of each superior court or branch or division thereof; and
(c) [Repealed, 2017, c. 33, s. 253]
(d) the Chief Justice of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada.
(e) [Repealed, 2002, c. 8, s. 104]
(2) and (3) [Repealed, 1999, c. 3, s. 77]
Marginal note:Substitute member
(4) Each member of the Council may appoint a judge of that member’s court to be a substitute member of the Council and the substitute member shall act as a member of the Council during any period in which he or she is appointed to act, but the Chief Justice of Canada may, in lieu of appointing a member of the Supreme Court of Canada, appoint any former member of that Court to be a substitute member of the Council.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 59
- 1992, c. 51, s. 25
- 1996, c. 30, s. 6
- 1999, c. 3, s. 77
- 2002, c. 7, s. 195, c. 8, s. 104
- 2017, c. 33, s. 253
Marginal note:Objects of Council
60 (1) The objects of the Council are to promote efficiency and uniformity, and to improve the quality of judicial service, in superior courts.
Marginal note:Powers of Council
(2) In furtherance of its objects, the Council may
(a) establish conferences of chief justices and associate chief justices;
(b) establish seminars for the continuing education of judges, including seminars on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination;
(c) make the inquiries and the investigation of complaints or allegations described in section 63; and
(d) make the inquiries described in section 69.
Marginal note:Seminars related to sexual assault law
(3) The Council should ensure that seminars on matters related to sexual assault law established under paragraph (2)(b)
(a) are developed after consultation with persons, groups or organizations the Council considers appropriate, such as sexual assault survivors and persons, groups and organizations that support them, including Indigenous leaders and representatives of Indigenous communities; and
(b) include, where the Council finds appropriate, instruction in evidentiary prohibitions, principles of consent and the conduct of sexual assault proceedings, as well as education regarding myths and stereotypes associated with sexual assault complainants.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 60
- 1992, c. 51, s. 26
- 2002, c. 8, s. 105
- 2021, c. 8, s. 2
Marginal note:Meetings of Council
61 (1) The Council shall meet at least once a year.
Marginal note:Work of Council
(2) Subject to this Act, the work of the Council shall be carried on in such manner as the Council may direct.
(3) The Council may make by-laws
(a) respecting the calling of meetings of the Council;
(b) respecting the conduct of business at meetings of the Council, including the fixing of quorums for such meetings, the establishment of committees of the Council and the delegation of duties to any such committees; and
(c) respecting the conduct of inquiries and investigations described in section 63.
- R.S., c. J-1, s. 30
- R.S., c. 16(2nd Supp.), s. 10
- 1976-77, c. 25, s. 15
Marginal note:Employment of counsel and assistants
62 The Council may engage the services of such persons as it deems necessary for carrying out its objects and duties, and also the services of counsel to aid and assist the Council in the conduct of any inquiry or investigation described in section 63.
- R.S., c. 16(2nd Supp.), s. 10
- 1976-77, c. 25, ss. 15, 16
- 1980-81-82-83, c. 157, ss. 16, 17(F)
Marginal note:Report — seminars
62.1 (1) Within 60 days after the end of each calendar year, the Council should submit to the Minister a report on the seminars referred to in paragraph 60(2)(b) on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination, that were offered in the preceding calendar year. The report should include the following information:
(a) the title and a description of the content of each seminar, its duration and the dates on which it was offered; and
(b) the number of judges who attended each seminar.
Marginal note:Tabling of report
(2) The Minister shall cause a copy of any report received to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 10 days on which that House is sitting after the Minister receives the report.
Inquiries concerning Judges
63 (1) The Council shall, at the request of the Minister or the attorney general of a province, commence an inquiry as to whether a judge of a superior court should be removed from office for any of the reasons set out in paragraphs 65(2)(a) to (d).
(2) The Council may investigate any complaint or allegation made in respect of a judge of a superior court.
Marginal note:Inquiry Committee
(3) The Council may, for the purpose of conducting an inquiry or investigation under this section, designate one or more of its members who, together with such members, if any, of the bar of a province, having at least ten years standing, as may be designated by the Minister, shall constitute an Inquiry Committee.
Marginal note:Powers of Council or Inquiry Committee
(4) The Council or an Inquiry Committee in making an inquiry or investigation under this section shall be deemed to be a superior court and shall have
(a) power to summon before it any person or witness and to require him or her to give evidence on oath, orally or in writing or on solemn affirmation if the person or witness is entitled to affirm in civil matters, and to produce such documents and evidence as it deems requisite to the full investigation of the matter into which it is inquiring; and
(b) the same power to enforce the attendance of any person or witness and to compel the person or witness to give evidence as is vested in any superior court of the province in which the inquiry or investigation is being conducted.
Marginal note:Prohibition of information relating to inquiry, etc.
(5) The Council may prohibit the publication of any information or documents placed before it in connection with, or arising out of, an inquiry or investigation under this section when it is of the opinion that the publication is not in the public interest.
Marginal note:Inquiries may be public or private
(6) An inquiry or investigation under this section may be held in public or in private, unless the Minister requires that it be held in public.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 63
- 1992, c. 51, s. 27
- 2002, c. 8, s. 106
Marginal note:Notice of hearing
64 A judge in respect of whom an inquiry or investigation under section 63 is to be made shall be given reasonable notice of the subject-matter of the inquiry or investigation and of the time and place of any hearing thereof and shall be afforded an opportunity, in person or by counsel, of being heard at the hearing, of cross-examining witnesses and of adducing evidence on his or her own behalf.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 64
- 2002, c. 8, s. 111(E)
Report and Recommendations
Marginal note:Report of Council
65 (1) After an inquiry or investigation under section 63 has been completed, the Council shall report its conclusions and submit the record of the inquiry or investigation to the Minister.
Marginal note:Recommendation to Minister
(2) Where, in the opinion of the Council, the judge in respect of whom an inquiry or investigation has been made has become incapacitated or disabled from the due execution of the office of judge by reason of
(a) age or infirmity,
(b) having been guilty of misconduct,
(c) having failed in the due execution of that office, or
(d) having been placed, by his or her conduct or otherwise, in a position incompatible with the due execution of that office,
the Council, in its report to the Minister under subsection (1), may recommend that the judge be removed from office.
- R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 65
- R.S., 1985, c. 27 (2nd Supp.), s. 5
- 2002, c. 8, s. 111(E)
- Date modified: