Fight Over N.B. Judicial Residency Could End Up Going To The SCC

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Media Mention

Publication Date


Source Publication

The Lawyers Weekly


The New Brunswick government’s bid for a veto over where federal trial judges live in the province — which affects where judges are appointed and work — could land at the Supreme Court of Canada in a dispute with political overtones and national implications for the administrative independence of the judiciary.

Over the past year, both the Law Society of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA-NB) have unsuccessfully urged the provincial Liberal government to scrap Bill 17 (formerly Bill 21), which was introduced Feb. 5, 2016.

The bill was drafted and tabled, reportedly at the behest of the premier’s office, without notice to, or consultation with, New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice David Smith, whose discretion to transfer the post-appointment residences of his 25 full-time judges (with their consent) the proposed law would constrain by requiring the prior consent of the provincial minister of Justice and Public Safety.