How Superior Court Judges are Selected
The federal government appoints superior court judges after wide consultation with the judiciary, the legal community and the community at large. Candidates must have at least 10 years’ experience as a lawyer and most have been practicing law for far longer. Lawyers submit a written application to a screening committee made up of judges, lawyers, government officials and members of the public. These committees assess the candidates and submit a list of those who are considered qualified to be a judge. The federal minister of justice selects a candidate from the list and recommends the person to the federal cabinet, which makes the final decision. The prime minister, however, recommends candidates for chief justice of a provincial or territorial superior court and all Supreme Court of Canada appointees. The process is conducted in private but, in 2006, a Parliamentary committee convened the first public hearing to question an appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada. The qualifications for appointment to a superior court are set out in section 3 of the Judges Act (PDF).