The collision of politics and the judiciary

Prime Minister Francois Legault recalled Quebec Chief Justice Lucie Rondeau’s decision this week to allow 160 magistrates to sit at a time in the Criminal Chamber as if nothing had happened, “talking” to the judges. not two days out of three, but another day. ” [Ils] we’re a little embarrassed by the situation,” LCN said in an interview aired Monday evening.

Francois Lego was not satisfied with that. The seasoned politician added that “pressure” from judges — who are telling each other “well, let’s see, what we’re doing now makes no sense, the people of Quebec are going to hate us” — could force the Chief Justice to back down.

More than one audience was indifferent. Martine Valois, a law professor at the University of Montreal, called it an “unprecedented crackdown” on every aspect – or nearly so – of the principle of judicial independence she studied. “It’s worrisome and it’s problematic,” he said Position. The separation of powers is being abused here, because the legislative and executive powers are clearly undermining the moral authority of the courts and, in my opinion, undermining the principle of judicial independence.”

The judges to whom Mr. Legault spoke should have kept their mouths shut, believes the former chief project adviser of the Commission of Inquiry into the Quebec Judicial Appointments Process (Bastarache Commission, 2010-2011). The Code of Ethics of the Court states that “judge should be cautious, polite and restrained in his public behavior” (Article 8), “should protect” in addition to obeying “administrative instructions of the chief judge” (Article 9). must protect the integrity and independence of the judiciary in accordance with the best interests of justice and society” (Article 10). “Does this prevent judges from expressing their displeasure to people privately? This is an emerging question,” says Martine Valois. Before adding: “But the Prime Minister is repeating this to undermine the public’s confidence in the Quebec Court … and if there are delays in justice, that is very problematic on constitutional principles.”

Francois Legault, the Quebec Supreme Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal are called upon to determine if she “can,” but Chief Justice Lucie Rondeau doesn’t hesitate to throw sugar in the back. […] decides unilaterally […] Reducing the number of days that judges assigned to the Criminal and Penalty Panels sit, which will affect the extension of court delays.”

“Wrong decision” “This is unacceptable” “Judges unilaterally decide to reduce the number of working days and hours… by 20-25% of their sitting time without reducing their salaries,” the head complained. Journalist Paul Larocque from the government on Monday.

So much for the rules sub-justice, which invites parliamentarians “not to put themselves in a position where they could interfere with or influence a case before the court”. “This is a rule that they voluntarily adhere to in court and for the sake of justice, which reflects their respect for the separation of powers of the state.”Encyclopedia of Quebec parliamentarism.

Mr. Legault was more circumspect during 43’s opening remarkse legislature Wednesday. He made a call […] access to justice,” without mentioning the politico-legal conflict between his government and the Quebec Court. “I see the chief justices who are there,” he said, looking at the stands facing the official opposition. “We are open to a better integration of digital technologies, because there is a lot of work to be done in this area, to find experiences in order not to be judged,” he said.

Quebec Chief Justice Manon Savard was in the stands as she presented the government’s general policy. So does Marie-Anne Paquette, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec. Lucie Rondeau, Chief Justice of the Court of Quebec, for her part, was detained elsewhere. “He had to decline the invitation given the commitments he had to honor,” he said in an email exchange with his executive assistant, Anne Latulippe. Position. “Any inference that there is a link between the Chief Justice’s absence from the Blue Room on November 30 and the ongoing litigation will mislead the public,” he said.

Martine Valois, who still denounces the “principle of separation of powers”, does not see the “usefulness”, much less the “necessity” of inviting chief justices to “government political speeches”, regardless of what the order says. The supremacy of the authorities who are summoned individually at public ceremonies organized by the government of Quebec.

To see in the video

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