The Rule of Law and Judicial Appointments in Canada

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Canada, Constitution Act 1867, Roncarelli v Duplessis, Constitutional Principles, Supreme Court of Canada, Judicial Appointments


The rule of law has long been a foundational precept of Canadian law. The idea is implied in the Preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867 which asserts that Canada is to have a "Constitution that is similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom." It is explicit in the Preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it recognizes that "Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law." The rule of law has also been recognized, embraced, elevated, and sanctified by the Canadian judiciary. [...] The Supreme Court of Canada has said that such principles have both interpretive and independent normative force. This means that the rule of law can be used to interpret statutory provisions and the common law, as well as to override them. We therefore suggest that the rule of law provides governing principles for the exercise of power under the Constitution. Unfortunately, however, the processes and procedures for judicial appointments in Canada have not sufficiently evolved to match the current requirements of the rule of law.