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Role of the Chief Justice of Canada

Responsibilities and Duties of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

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Appointment of the Chief Justice of Canada

The Chief Justice of Canada is chosen by the governor in council, in effect the Prime Minister of Canada in consultation with the federal cabinet.

Role of the Chief Justice of Canada

The role of the Chief Justice of Canada has four main parts - judge, administrator of the Supreme Court, head of the Canadian judiciary and a public representative for the Supreme Court of Canada.

Responsibilities of the Chief Justice of Canada

Major responsibilities of the Chief Justice of Canada include:

  • The Chief Justice of Canada presides at all sittings of the Supreme Court at which he or she is present. The Chief Justice also chooses the panels of Justices which hear Supreme Court of Canada cases.

  • The Chief Justice of Canada heads the Supreme Court staff of over 150 employees who are members of the federal government public service.

  • The Chief Justice of Canada chairs the Canadian Judicial Council, made up of the chief and associate chief justices and judges of all courts whose members are appointed by the federal government. The Canadian Judicial Council provides continuing education for judges, handles complaints about federally appointed judges and coordinates the discussion of issues of importance to the judiciary in Canada.

  • The Chief Justice of Canada, as well as other Justices of the Supreme Court, acts as a deputy to the Governor General of Canada for giving Royal Assent to bills and signing other official documents.

  • If the Governor General of Canada dies, or becomes incapacitated or is out of the country for more than one month, then the Chief Justice of Canada becomes Administrator of Canada and assumes the duties of the Governor General.

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