Summary

36165

Conférence des juges de paix magistrats du Québec, et al. v. Attorney General of Quebec, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

None.

Summary

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Constitutional law - Judicial independence - Remuneration and employment benefits - Provincial statute creating new categories of justices of peace in Quebec - Presiding justices of peace challenging constitutionality of legislative provisions dealing with their remuneration, employment conditions and pension plan - Whether ss. 27, 30 and 32 of Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act and other legislative provisions as regards the status of justices of the peace are contrary to principle of judicial independence guaranteed by Constitution Act, 1867 or s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - If so, in case of s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, whether infringement is reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in free and democratic society under s. 1 of Charter - Whether s. 178 of Courts of Justice Act, CQLR, c. T 16, as amended by Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act and other legislative provisions as regards the status of justices of the peace, S.Q. 2004, c. 12, is contrary to principle of judicial independence guaranteed by Constitution Act, 1867 or s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - If so, in case of s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, whether infringement is reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in free and democratic society under s. 1 of Charter - Whether Order No. 932 2008, (2008) 140 G.O. II, 5681, concerning salary and other employment conditions of presiding justices of peace, is contrary to principle of judicial independence guaranteed by Constitution Act, 1867 or s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - If so, in case of s. 11(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, whether infringement is reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in free and democratic society under s. 1 of Charter - An Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act and other legislative provisions as regards the status of justices of the peace, S.Q. 2004, c. 12, ss. 27, 30 and 32 - Courts of Justice Act, C.Q.L.R. c. T-16, s. 178.

The Conférence des juges de paix magistrats du Québec and several presiding justices of the peace (“PJPs”) filed a motion to strike down provisions of the Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act and other legislative provisions as regards the status of justices of the peace (“amending Act”) and the Courts of Justice Act (“CJA”) on the ground that the scheme established by the impugned provisions did not guarantee judicial independence. The appellants’ motion also challenged the constitutionality of Order No. 932-2008.

The litigation arose out of amendments made to the Courts of Justice Act in 2004 concerning justices of the peace. The amendments became necessary as a result of judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal suggesting that the system then in place in Quebec did not guarantee the independence of justices of the peace. The effect of the reform undertaken in 2004 was to replace the former categories of justices of the peace with two new categories, including PJPs, who formed part of the judicial system. The Act gave PJP status to certain justices of the peace who had formerly been justices of the peace with extended powers (“JPEPs”). They retained the salary they were receiving before the coming into force of the Act until it was equal to the salary to be determined by the government for subsequently appointed PJPs. An order was then made specifying the annual remuneration of PJPs appointed after the coming into force of the Act. Their annual remuneration was about $20,000 less than that of their colleagues. The Act also provided that a committee on the remuneration of judges (“CRJ”) would not determine the salary and benefits of all PJPs until three years later, in 2007. In addition to these changes, the Courts of Justice Act was amended to make the pension plan established by the Act respecting the Pension Plan of Management Personnel applicable to PJPs.

Lower Court Rulings

March 16, 2012
Superior Court of Quebec

500-17-046760-081
Applicants’ amended motion to institute proceedings dismissed; declarations made upholding constitutionality of ss. 27, 30 and 32 of Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act and other legislative provisions as regards the status of justices of the peace, s. 178 of Courts of Justice Act and Order No. 932-2008.
September 11, 2014
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

500-09-022600-126
Appeal dismissed.