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August 25, 2004
For immediate release

Province to Appoint an Additional Provincial Court Judge

Office of the Attorney General

Executive Council has approved in principle the appointment of an additional judge to the Prince Edward Island Provincial Court and instructed that a Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee be struck.

A Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee will be constituted to receive and review applications from persons eligible for appointment under the Provincial Court Act. The Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee process was established in 1995 to ensure that the Attorney General receives independent non-partisan advice on the suitability of applicants for appointment to the Provincial Court. This will be the third time that a Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee has been struck.

The Government of PEI and the Office of the Attorney General continue to make family violence prevention a top priority. Through the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, Islanders have asked for leadership in the development of a Domestic Violence Court to assist victims of domestic violence and their children in dealing with the justice system.

Under the Provincial Court Act, the Chief Judge has the authority to determine the duties of the individual judges. The appointment of an additional provincial court judge will provide the Chief Judge with the flexibility to assign any of the individual judges to offer their expertise and the perspective of the court regarding the potential development of a specialized court.

Other priority areas in which government would benefit from the expertise of the court include the relationship between the aboriginal community and the criminal justice system and youth criminal justice in light of the new Youth Criminal Justice Act.

BACKGROUNDER

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE

Purpose:

To establish a mechanism for the provision of independent, non-partisan advice to the Attorney General on the suitability of applicants for appointment to the Prince Edward Island Provincial Court.

Composition:

The committee is composed of five persons:

(i) the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court;

(ii) a lawyer appointed by the Law Society of Prince Edward Island;

(iii) a lawyer appointed by the PEI Branch of the Canadian Bar Association;

(iv) two other persons appointed by the Attorney General, after consultation with the Executive Council, who are neither judges nor lawyers but by virtue of their education and employment can properly assess the qualities required of a provincial court judge.

The Chief Judge shall chair the committee.

Qualification:

Persons are not eligible for appointment to the Provincial Court unless they are members in good standing of the Law Society of Prince Edward Island, and have been members in good standing of the bar of a province of Canada for at least five years immediately preceding the date of appointment.

In formulating its assessments, the committee shall use the following criteria:

• personal suitability

• intellectual and judgmental ability

• professional achievement and experience

• community awareness and understanding

This process was used in 1995 and 1997 for the appointments of Judge Nancy K. Orr and Judge John R.A. Douglas respectively.

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Media Contact: Jennifer MacLeod
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