Top judge says judiciary must decide what training judges need

Top judge says judiciary must decide what training judges need

OTTAWA — The chief justice of Canada says the judiciary must be free to decide what training and education judges need to do their jobs well.

Richard Wagner’s comments in a speech to the Canadian Bar Association come just two weeks after the Trudeau government introduced legislation that would require new judges to commit to undergoing training in sexual assault law before taking seats on the bench.

Bill C-5 revives a private member’s bill introduced several years ago by former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, which stalled in the Senate and died when Parliament dissolved for last fall’s election.

However, the bill incorporates modifications proposed by senators to quell concerns that mandatory training for judges would impinge on judicial independence.

In his speech, Wagner says judicial independence is crucial to the success of democracy.

But he says it’s now under threat around the world and points to the United States as an example.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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