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Senior judges in the territories to get new titles

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 2:57 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

Members of the bench who hold the title of senior judge in the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are in for a title change.

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould highlighted amendments to the Judges Act (which was introduced as part of the budget), that will change the title senior judge to chief justice. The change is taking place to ensure territorial judges are treated the same as their provincial counterparts who use the chief justice title.

The amendments also include provisions to have future chief justices of the territorial superior courts appointed through the same process as their provincial counterparts. The current senior judges will become the first chief justices of their respective courts.

A statement issued by the Department of Justice Canada explains that “[s]enior judges of the territorial superior trial courts perform the same functions and receive the same compensation as their provincial counterparts, who are known as chief justices. The change recognizes the critical role that senior judges in the territorial superior trial courts play in delivering justice in the North.”

According to Wilson-Raybould, “The impact of this amendment goes beyond titles — it is about fairness and a recognition that the powers and responsibilities are the same for all heads of courts, regardless of jurisdiction.”