On January 18, 2016, Mr. Raymond Doray, Ad.E., and Mr. Loïc Berdnikoff, both of whom are partners in the firm’s Administrative Law and Constitutional Law group, represented the Conférence des juges de paix magistrats du Québec and its members before the Supreme Court of Canada to obtain a declaration of unconstitutionality regarding various provisions of the Act to Amend the Courts of Justice Act and Other Legislative Provisions as regards the Status of Justices of the Peace (“Act regarding the Status of Justices of the Peace”) which allowed the government, notably, to unilaterally determine the starting treatment and work conditions of the justices of the peace, without having recourse to a remuneration commission.
In an important judgment rendered on October 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that since sections 27, 30 and 32 of the Act regarding the Status of Justices of the Peace did not provide for a retroactive committee review of the starting treatment of the members of a new judicial office created within a reasonable time, these sections infringe the institutional financial security guarantee of judicial independence, and are thus contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) and to the Constitution Act, 1867. This infringement of judicial independence is not justified under section 1 of the Charter, because there is no evidence of a dire and exceptional financial emergency. Therefore, sections 27, 30 and 32 are unconstitutional.
To see the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada, click here.