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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 Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Beverley McLachlin was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on March 30, 1989. Prior to her appointment, she served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, on the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and on the County Court of Vancouver. She became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada on January 7, 2000.

The Right Honourable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
The Right Honourable
Madam Chief Justice
Beverley McLachlin
Before joining the bench, McLachlin taught law at the University of British Columbia from 1974-81. She practised law with: Bull, Housser and Tupper of Vancouver (1972-75); Thomas, Herdy, Mitchell and Co. of Fort St. John, British Columbia (1971-72); and, Wood, Moir, Hyde, and Ross of Edmonton (1969-71).

McLachlin was called to the Bar of Alberta in 1969 and the Bar of British Columbia in 1971. She earned a law degree from the University of Alberta in 1968. And she has been awarded honorary law degrees by the University of British Columbia (1990), the University of Alberta (1990) and the University of Toronto (1995).

McLachlin was born in Pincher Creek, Alberta, on September 7, 1943. She is married to Frank McArdle and has a son, Angus.

Puisne Justices

  • The Honourable Rosalie Abella
  • The Honourable Michael Moldaver
  • The Honourable Andromache Karakatsanis
  • The Honourable Richard Wagner
  • The Honourable Clément Gascon
  • The Honourable Suzanne Côté
  • The Honourable Russell Brown
  • The Honourable Malcolm Rowe
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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