Statement from CBA President John Stefaniuk, K.C. on Judicial Independence

  • February 29, 2024

The Canadian Bar Association strongly reiterates the importance of judicial independence as a cornerstone of our democratic society. We at the CBA are concerned about recent comments from our elected leaders that can be seen as calling this principle into question.

Judicial independence is essential to the proper functioning of a free, just and democratic society, based on the principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law. Independent and properly resourced court systems operate for the benefit of all citizens. All Canadians should be confident that their legal disputes will be decided expeditiously, according to the law, in open court, by an impartial judge free from any outside influence.

The CBA supports an open and transparent process for appointing judges, based on merit and representative of Canadian society, that results in a fairly-chosen and independent judiciary. Remarks or decisions casting doubts on or threatening that open, transparent, and apolitical process have the effect of progressively eroding public confidence in the independence of our justice system. This leads to a loss of public and international confidence in our democratic systems and our economy.

As members of Canada’s legal community, we are called upon to defend and promote the extremely important principle of judicial independence at every opportunity. I join my voice to those among our organization and our profession in answering this call.