May 22nd, 2024

Supreme Court rules military judges sufficiently independent from chain of command

By The Canadian Press on April 26, 2024.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled this morning that the constitutional right of judicial independence is not compromised for soldiers appearing in front of military judges. A man walks past the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Friday, June 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada says the constitutional right of judicial independence is not compromised for soldiers appearing in front of military judges.

Nine members of the Canadian Armed Forces argued that military judges may have divided loyalties, because they are also military officers who are part of a chain of command.

Some of the military judges in those cases agreed that they lack judicial independence, because they could be vulnerable to pressure from higher ranks.

But the military’s appeals court disagreed, saying the system is sufficiently impartial and independent to allow for fair trials.

In today’s ruling, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals brought by Forces members.

A majority of the court noted safeguards in Canadian law to preserve the independence of military judges.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2024.

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