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Supreme Court of Canada Judges

The Supreme Court of Canada (the Court) was established in 1875, and since 1949 has served as the final court of appeal and the highest legal authority in the Canadian justice system. The Court adjudicates on all areas of the law and on all cases from both the provincial/territorial courts and from the federal court system. Because the Court sits at the top of Canada’s hierarchical court system, its decisions are binding on all other courts in Canada.

The Court consists of one Chief Justice, and eight associate judges. The Constitution empowers the Governor General to appoint Supreme Court judges. In practice, appointments are made on the advice of the Prime Minister. To support the Prime Minister in this duty, the Minister of Justice compiles a shortlist of candidates with input from the provincial law societies.

A number of rules govern who can be appointed to the Court. Candidates must have been a member of a provincial or territorial law society for at least ten years, or have served as a judge in a superior court. In addition, at least three Supreme Court judges must come from Quebec, to ensure that the Court has sufficient expertise in the province’s civil law code. For the sake of geographic representation, convention normally dictates that the Court includes at least one judge from Atlantic Canada, a minimum of two judges from Western Canada, and three judges from Ontario.

Find the names of the current and former Supreme Court judges, the date at which each was appointed to the Court, and the Prime Minister that recommended each for appointment.

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NameRoleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)Appointed by
McLachlin, Beverley Chief Justice 2000.01.07 - Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
Wagner, Richard Puisne Judge 2012.10.05 - Harper, Stephen
Karakatsanis, Andromache Puisne Judge 2011.10.21 - Harper, Stephen
Moldaver, Michael J. Puisne Judge 2011.10.21 - Harper, Stephen
Cromwell, Thomas Puisne Judge 2008.12.22 - Harper, Stephen
Rothstein, Marshall E. Puisne Judge 2006.03.01 - Harper, Stephen
Abella, Rosalie Silberman Puisne Judge 2004.08.30 - Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe
LeBel, Louis Puisne Judge 2000.01.07 - Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean
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Updated on: 2014.03.28

Revised on: 2014.03.28

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