Administrative justice – Quebec’s is Unjust by Design too

PREFACE

Unjust by Design explicitly left Quebec out of its critique of Canada’s administrative justice system.  The reasons for that exclusion appear in the first full paragraph on  page 27 of the book and the final sentence in that paragraph reads:

Note, however, that my exclusion of Quebec from this critique should not be taken to mean that I have concluded that there are no administrative justice problems left in that province. My point is that it is a different case. Whether it is in all respects a better case I leave for others to determine.

It  has now been determined that it is, in fact, not a better case.

THE NEW QUEBEC STUDY

A recently published study of 15 Quebec administrative justice adjudicative tribunals has concluded that the government-controlled regimes governing the selection, appointment and reappointment of the members of these tribunals are not compatible with adjudicative independence.

(Note the study does not include Quebec’s “super” administrative tribunal – TAQ – whose members are life-tenured.)

An abstract of the study posted on February 17, 2014, on the CNW ( here ) – source: Faculty of Law Université de Montréal – includes this:

Study findings gleaned from 28 adjudicators in the 15 agencies under study are more worrisome yet.  Some recurring situations continue to compromise adjudicator independence.

The absence of selection rules in the majority of agencies studied allows partisan influence and even patronage to interfere in appointments.  Data gathered reveals that the Executive Council regularly uses its appointments powers to provide a convenient posting for some favoured candidates, reassign or replace public officials no longer welcome in their position, or offer employment to specific individuals on the eve of a change of government.  Important decision-making powers are therefore conferred on individuals who do not always have the qualifications, legitimacy or preparation necessary to exercise the responsibilities incumbent on them. (Emphasis added.)

An article reporting on this study in similar terms, written by Luis Millan, may also be found  in the March 14, 2014, issue of The Lawyers Weekly (page 5).

The study was conducted by four professors from the Faculties of Law of Université de Montréal (France Houle, Pierre Noreau and Martine Valois) and Université Laval (Pierre Issalys).  It is published as a 375 page book.  The title (translated) is “Administrative Justice: Of Independence and Responsibility – Paving the Way to towards a common regime for independent administrative adjudicators” .   The book includes a comprehensive reform proposal.

RE

 

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