Judges want public funds to pay their lawyers

News 10 January, 2018
  • Alexandre Robillard

    On Wednesday 10 January 2018 00:00

    On Wednesday 10 January 2018 00:00

    Look at this article

    QUEBEC | the judges of the superior Court require refunds secrets of attorney’s fees following an action that they have themselves initiated against Quebec and Ottawa.

    The magistrates argue that they need public funds of the two governments in order to preserve the credibility of the justice system.

    But they claim that the amounts that would be paid are confidential, because the “professional secrecy obligation” requires it, plead they.

    Last year, the minister of Justice Stéphanie Vallée has sought for reference to the Court of appeal to resolve a debate provoked by the superior Court, whose judges are appointed by Ottawa.

    The origin of this feud judges, the judges of the superior Court claim that the Court of Québec, whose judges are appointed by the quebec government, ceases to hear matters whose value exceeds $10,000.

    Currently, the threshold set by the Code of civil procedure of Quebec is much higher : all records with a value of less than $ 85,000 must proceed in the Court of Québec.


    In their motion, filed in December in Court of appeal, the superior Court judges expect that they will be the only one who accepted to challenge this threshold.

    “It appears that a majority of opinion that supports a positive response to the issues raised by the dismissal will be funded by the ministries of Justice of Quebec and of Canada, while the opposite position is, for the moment, funded by the judges of the superior Court, personally. “

    The judges are therefore calling for a retroactive reimbursement of their expenses, from the time when Quebec decided to go to the Court of appeal in August.

    “Blank cheque “

    Professor of constitutional law at Laval University, and Patrick Taillon considers that this request, if granted, would feed the perception of a two tiered justice system.

    “One side, one for the most powerful, the most skilful and the most fortunate [and the judges of the superior Court whose salary is well above that of the average citizens will be in this category]. And the other one for the citizens of the “ordinary” that are no longer able to afford the services of a lawyer. “

    He is afraid that refunds secrets would allow the judges to escape the rules for these expenses.

    “The judges of the superior Court to request for a blank cheque,” he says.