Justice Cromwell Retires
Queen’s very own Justice Thomas Cromwell has retired from the Supreme Court of Canada.
Cromwell was appointed to the Court in December 2008; previously he served as a judge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. This has left a vacant seat on the Court, which now needs to be filled. Traditionally, appointments to the Supreme Court follow regional representation and since Justice Cromwell represented Atlantic Canada, the traditional approach would be to replace him with someone also hailing from the eastern part of Canada.
However, the Liberal party has announced a new application process, which aims to increase transparency.
The new approach would see a seven-member advisory board, chaired by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, submit a non-binding, merit based recommendation of 3 to 5 candidates. The application process is open to all Canadian lawyers and judges who fit the criteria and are functionally bilingual regardless of region.
The new process has received understandable criticism from Atlantic Canada. The Toronto Star has reported that a secret shortlist has five names on it of which only two are from Atlantic Canada. The PMO responded to the report by saying they weren’t ready to announce the official short-list but that there were “a significant number of Atlantic Canadians on the list.”
The report follows a vote on September 27 in which members of Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a motion asking the government to “respect the custom of regional representation” when deciding on who will fill the vacant seat. Prime Minister Trudeau was in the House at the time of the vote and supported the motion. However, it should be pointed out that the motion is non-binding.
Politicians from the Atlantic region and the Canadian Bar Association have called on the Prime Minister to maintain regional representation.
Vlad Krasner (2L) is the Features Editor for Juris Diction.