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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada is not only the highest judge in Canada but also third in the Order of Precedence, coming behind the Governor General and the Prime Minister. The Chief Justice is also the Deputy Governor General, ex officio chairman of the Canadian Judicial Council, and the chair of the committee that selects winners of the Order of Canada. The Chief Justice is 3rd on the Canadian Order of Precedence.



The Chief Justice is ex officio chairman of the Canadian Judicial Council which is composed of all Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices of superior courts in Canada. This body, established by the Judges Act, organizes seminars for federally appointed judges, coordinates the discussion of issues of concern to the judiciary, and conducts inquiries, either on public complaint or at the request of the federal Minister of Justice or a provincial Attorney General, into the conduct of any federally appointed judge.

The Letters Patent of 1947 respecting the office of Governor General provide that, should the Governor General die, become incapacitated or be absent from the country for a period of more than one month, the Chief Justice or, if that office is vacant, the senior puisne Justice of the Supreme Court, would become the Administrator of Canada and exercise all the powers and duties of the Governor General.

The Chief Justice of Canada also chairs the committee which advises the Governor General on awards of membership in the Order of Canada.

Finally, the Chief Justice and the other Justices of the Court serve as deputies of the Governor General for the purpose of giving royal assent to bills passed by Parliament, signing official documents or receiving credentials of newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors.

The Right Honourable Richard Wagner

The Right Honourable Richard Wagner
The Right Honourable
Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner was born in Montreal on April 2, 1957. He studied at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montreal and obtained his Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in 1975. He earned a Bachelor of Social Sciences (B.Soc.Sc.) with a major in Political Science from the University of Ottawa in 1978, graduating cum laude. He received a Licentiate in Laws (LL.L.) from the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law in 1979, also graduating cum laude.

On September 24, 2004, Richard Wagner was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court for the District of Montréal, where he sat in the Civil Division, the Commercial Division and the Criminal Division. He was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal on February 3, 2011.

As a Superior Court judge, he sat on several of the court’s committees, including the judicial practice committee, which oversaw training for newly appointed judges. He became a member of the board of directors of the Conférence des juges des cours supérieures du Québec in 2006, and its president in 2009. He has been a member of the Judicial Conduct Review Committee and the Remuneration Committee of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association and has sat on its board of directors since 2011. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 5, 2012 and appointed Chief Justice of Canada, December 18, 2017.

Puisne Justices

  • The Honourable Rosalie Abella
  • The Honourable Michael Moldaver
  • The Honourable Andromache Karakatsanis
  • The Honourable Clément Gascon
  • The Honourable Suzanne Côté
  • The Honourable Russell Brown
  • The Honourable Malcolm Rowe
  • The Honourable Sheilah Martin
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SOURCE: Supreme Court of Canada.

See also
Former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court
Federal Judiciary System
Supreme Court
Federal Court
Federal Court of Appeal
Tax Court

External Links
Supreme Court Official Website

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt