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Supreme Court chief justice praises court’s accountability, public engagement

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin addresses the Canadian Bar Association’s 2015 legal conference in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY- While Canadian judges are appointed by the government, the Supreme Court of Canada’s chief justice says it would be a mistake to think they are unaccountable because of that.

In an address to a meeting of the Canadian Bar Association in Calgary this morning, Beverley McLachlin pointed out that judges are held publicly accountable through open courts and appeals.

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McLachlin also referenced a review panel of the Canadian Judicial Council that members of the public participated in.

“One of the things we heard loud and clear is that the public would like to see more public participation in the review process,” McLachlin said. “Within the existing legislation, the council went as far as it could to allow public participation, and we look forward to exploring other ways to invite public participation in the process.”

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Overall, McLachlin was confident in the state of Canada’s courts system and its approach to the complex legal and constitutional issues it examines.

“For the country to move forward, we have to have strong courts and we have to have clarity on issues,” she said. “That is what we are conscientiously doing and I believe that we have been doing a good job of it.”

McLachlin added that she thinks the public shares her confidence. However, the chief justice also added that more should be done to minimize costs and delays in Canada’s courts.

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With files from The Canadian Press