Chief Justice Wagner, Justice minister sign accord to boost SCC independence

  • July 22, 2019

By John Chunn for The Lawyer's Daily

Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti on July 22 signed an accord aimed at recognizing and reinforcing the independence of the Supreme Court.

According to the press release from the Supreme Court, this marks another important milestone in the evolution of the court and will help safeguard public trust in one of Canada’s most vital national institutions.

In the accord, the chief justice and the minister express their commitment to the independence of the judiciary, which is fundamental to our democracy and to maintaining public confidence in the justice system and the rule of law. The accord also embodies a shared commitment to an accessible and effective justice system that provides high quality, accessible and timely services to all Canadians.

In its operative provisions, the accord sets the framework for a collaborative and productive relationship between Chief Justice Wagner and Lametti, recognizing that each has an important role with respect to the administration of justice. It does this through key provisions relating to the handling of funding requests, contracting authority and the appointment of the court’s senior administrative office-holders. Setting these provisions out in a public document brings clarity to this ongoing relationship and advances openness and transparency.

“As chief justice of Canada, it brings me great pride to have signed this accord with the minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada, knowing that it will further strengthen public confidence in the administration of justice,” said Chief Justice Wagner. The accord exemplifies Canada’s commitment to safeguarding its institutions and protecting democratic values such as judicial independence. A judiciary that is independent — and seen to be independent— benefits all Canadians.”

Lametti said: “The accord is an important milestone in the institutional relationship between the executive branch of government and our nation’s highest court. It is a strong affirmation by the government and the chief justice of Canada that a just and democratic society requires, at its heart, a strong commitment to judicial independence and respect for the rule of law. As minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada, I thank Chief Justice Wagner on behalf of all Canadians for his steadfast commitment and championing of these fundamental values.”