Monday, November 13, 2006

Judge Not

Our governing elites have taken the view that the process of appointing judges is akin to making sausage: we should not see either lest we lose our appetites.

Which is why there is now much indignation that mere policemen should be permitted to look in on the process:

The Tory plan to add a seat for police officers to the seven-member judicial advisory committees in each province has been blasted by legal experts. They warn it will politicize the legal process, increase the chance of patronage and give the federal justice minister too much sway in the committees, which make recommendations to the minister about potential judges.

But the head of the Canadian Professional Police Association says he's astounded by the criticism.

"I was very surprised - shocked, even - to see that some people would prefer remaining in their ivory towers," association president Tony Cannavino said Monday.

"These (officers) will bring to the table an important, practical perspective on the justice system.


Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and the Canadian Bar Association have criticized the government move, warning that it risks compromising the independence of the judicial system.

One wonders how giving the police a voice in the appointment of judges compromises judicial independence. The police are not being allowed to exercise a veto, or even to control the vetting process; they are merely being offered their chance to offer observations and recommendations based on how they've seen prosecutors and defence counsel conduct themselves in court.

If anything, the advisory panel should be expanded to take in people who observe candidate lawyers in all their professional capacities: corporate executives dealing with in-house and outside counsel; academics with law professors; public servants with government lawyers; and so forth.

Surely all of them can offer insights into the conduct, reputation and competence of those lawyers who might be elevated to the bench?

Source: Yahoo


Ontario Lad said...

All the judges on Mount Olympus cannot bear the thought of sharing what they have with mere mortals like the police. C'mon now, that is just silly!

herringchoker said...

I'd be more impressed with the criticism if Toews were actually appointing judges. At last count there were more than 80 vacancies on the federal bench. Are you telling me that the minister can't find 80 conservative-leaning lawyers amongst the hundreds (if not thousands) of applicants siting before him? There are even a few Grits who bend right on law-and-order issues, you know.