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The role of judges

Region: Ontario Answer # 713

In Canada, judges are appointed by either the provincial government or the federal government, they are never elected. They are the masters of the courtroom and their role is to interpret and apply the law. They are there to keep order in the court and rule on the evidence presented to them. They hear motions, oversee jury trials or sit in judgment of cases without juries. They can also sit as a panel or group to hear appeals of lower court cases.

Judicial powers

Judges can strike down laws as being unconstitutional or uphold them. They are responsible for setting the rules governing the court and matters before them. Their jurisdiction to hear a case depends on the matter at issue.

Provincially-appointed judge

Provincial court judges are limited to hearing provincial and summary conviction offences and have jurisdiction over certain matters of family law. Generally, provincially-appointed judges do not hear cases involving litigation between private parties.

Federally-appointed judge

Federally-appointed judges tend to hear cases where more is at stake in terms of crime and hear matters involving indictments. They are also responsible for civil litigation of commercial disputes and private litigation over things like libel, negligence, administrative law involving federal institutions and contractual disputes.


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