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CLN 4C1 – Mr. Nero. Legal Occupations. Judges. Overview. Judges preside over courts of law, interpret/enforce rules of procedure, adjudicate civil/criminal cases, and administer justice. They may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal, and family law . Appointment.

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Legal occupations

CLN 4C1 – Mr. Nero

Legal Occupations



  • Judges preside over courts of law, interpret/enforce rules of procedure, adjudicate civil/criminal cases, and administer justice.

  • They may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal, and family law.


  • Judges are appointed “to the Bench.” The federal government appoints judges who hear cases in the superior courts (which include: provincial and territorial superior courts, provincial courts of appeal, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, the Tax Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of Canada). The provincial and territorial governments appoint judges who hear cases in the provincial and territorial (lower) courts.  

  • Judicial candidates must have practiced law in Canada and have other important qualifications. After they are appointed, judges have access to special training on all aspects of judging and all areas of the law.


  • Judges perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Preside over courts of law, interpret and enforce rules of procedure and make rulings regarding the admissibility of evidence;

  • Instruct the jury on laws that are applicable to the case;

  • Weigh and consider evidence in non-jury trials and decide legal guilt or innocence or degree of liability of the accused or defendant;

  • Pass sentence on persons convicted in criminal cases and determine damages or other appropriate remedy in civil cases;


  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses;

  • Determine custody of children between contesting parents and other guardians;

  • Enforce court orders for access or support;

  • Supervise other judges and court officers.

  • Judges may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal or family law.


  • Judges may sometimes hold very special or distinguished titles depending on the area of Law that they preside over. Some of these include;

  • Chief Justice

  • District Court Judge

  • Family Court Judge

  • Federal Trial Court Justice

  • Judge

  • Justice

  • Provincial Court of Appeal Justice

  • Small Claims Court Judge

  • Supreme Court Justice

Legal occupations

  • Once a judge is appointed, they are eligible to be a judge until the age of retirement. For federally appointed judges, retirement is mandatory at age 75. In some provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the retirement age is 70.  

  • A judge can be removed from office only if an independent investigation shows that they have not met the high standard of personal conduct required of judges, both in court and in public, and that the Canadian Judicial Council recommends to Parliament (through the Minister of Justice) that the judge be removed from office.

Legal occupations

  • Judicial councils have responsibility for promoting professional standards and conduct of judges. There is a separate judicial council for judges appointed by a province or territory, and those appointed by the federal government. A judicial council may recommend that a judge be removed from office if it finds that a judge has been guilty of serious misconduct.

  • The Canadian Judicial Council is responsible for federally appointed judges only. The process for making a complaint about a federally appointed judge and the Council’s review of that complaint is described in another part of this website called Expected Conduct of Judges.

What is judicial independence
What is Judicial Independence?

  • Judicial independence means that judges are not subject to pressure and influence, and are free to make good decisions based solely on fact and law. Independence is ensured by three things:

    • Security of tenure – Once appointed, a judge is entitled to serve on the Bench until the age of retirement, unless there is good reason for them to be removed from office.

    • Financial security – Judges are paid sufficiently so they are not dependent on or subject to pressure from other institutions.

    • Administrative independence – The chief justice in each province and territory decides how that court manages the litigation process and which cases the judges will hear.


  • As mentioned in a previous slide, judges are former lawyers who have decided to take on a new challenge. As a result, their education is not unlike that of a lawyer. In Canada we have many fine law schools where individuals can learn the necessary skills required to enter the field of courtroom law. Some of these include;

  • Carlton University (Ottawa)

  • McGill University (Montreal)

  • Western University (London)

  • Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (Toronto)

Financial aid and scholarships
Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • If you are interested in becoming a lawyer or judge it can be a long and arduous process.

  • Not to mention the fees associated with school!!

  • To help individuals wishing to enter the legal field there are some scholarship opportunities present to assist students.

  • One of the more interesting opportunities provides students with a $10,000 scholarship to practice law… long as they are willing to do it at the University of New South Wales in wonderful Australia!

  • Only 3 scholarships are given out for this opportunity.

Titles and associations
Titles and Associations

  • Lawyers and Judges are both a part of a greater organization which is knows as the Canadian Bar Association (CBA).

  • The CBA is the ally and advocate of all members of the legal profession. It provides personal and professional development and support to all members of the legal profession, promotes fair justice systems, facilitates effective law reform, promotes equality in the legal profession and the elimination of discrimination.

  • The CBA is located in Ottawa, Ontario.

You be the judge
You be the Judge!!

  • Answer the following cases by reviewing the information and making a judgement on them. Remember the information you learned during the course of our last unit and come up with a proper verdict and sentence for each case.